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:

  • Find a comfortable and private place to check in and ask if it is OK to talk
  • Ensure you won’t be hurried
  • Be direct about your concerns and the observations and/or information behind them
  • Be a good listener and check your understanding of what they share
  • Ask how you can be helpful
  • If you believe that counseling, or some other supportive resource (see list below) would be helpful, make the referral and encourage them to follow through
  • If they are open to counseling but you worry about them taking the step, offer to help them make the appointment while they are sitting with you
  • If they have made hopeless comments that lead to you a concern about their safety, or have made direct statements about suicide, contact our office immediately at 207-859-4490. If it is after hours, or on a weekend, call the same number and hit “0” to be connected with our on-call counselor who is available to help 24 hours/day, seven days/week. You should not be in a position of determining whether or not a person is safe. Please allow a trained mental health professional to determine the level of risk.

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.


  • Counseling Services: 207-859-4490
  • Health Services: 207-859-4460
  • Campus Security: 207-859-5911
  • Dean of Students Office: 207-859-4250
  • Gender and Sexual Diversity Program: 207-859-4093
  • Religious and Spiritual Life: 207-859-4271

Contact Counseling

[email protected]

Garrison-Foster Building, Room 205