Given your relationship with your friend, you may be the first person to recognize signs of emotional distress, or they may turn to you first for support. We recognize that it is difficult to see someone you care about struggle and that there can be uncertainty about what to do. We’re always available for consultation in these situations. We can talk through your concerns and help with developing a plan for moving forward. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support. Regardless of whether or not you consult with our office, there are some important things to keep in mind regarding your role in these situations. Simply noticing, connecting with, and encouraging the person to seek additional support can be tremendously important.
Don’t worry about saying things perfectly or having to fix their problems. Remember, your role is not that of a counselor. It’s all about you connecting with them, expressing your care and concern, and directing them to the appropriate support services on campus. Here are some helpful strategies for checking in:
You don’t need to be a mental health expert, or have experience dealing with mental health concerns—you only need to know how to do a few very simple, but extremely valuable, things to make a difference in someone’s situation. Here is helpful information about the warning signs of emotional distress and strategies for how to respond.
Listen to your gut: If you are at all concerned, check in. If you are uncertain if you should be concerned, or are unsure about how to respond, please consult with Counseling Services at 207-859-4490 or [email protected].
It is common to want to know if a student has followed through with a referral to counseling or sought counseling here on their own. We understand this desire to know and encourage you to check in directly with them, which both confirms that they did or didn’t and communicates further your level of care and concern for them.
Furthermore, if you did make the referral to our office, and/or we believe it would be helpful to have contact with you, we will talk with them about signing a release of information allowing us to communicate with you.
Please remember that the student/client holds the privilege, meaning that outside of immediate concerns for their safety or the safety of others, we can’t communicate with anyone outside our office about the student without their consent, including a simple confirmation around whether or not they have been in to see us.