How to Help a Distressed Student
If you decide to help, then do it with HEART:
- Stop what you're doing and really listen to what the student is saying.
- Acknowledge what you have heard and let the student know you understand.
- Express concern and interest.
- Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
- Remember, even if the problem does not seem real to you, it may be very important to the student.
- Ask the student, "What have you thought about doing?"
- Discuss the pros and cons of different courses of action.
- Don't expect to have all the answers.
- Be honest about your concerns and limitations.
- The student may need professional help.
- Do not agree to be secretive about his or her problem.
- Help the student find appropriate resources.
- Offer to go with him or her to talk with a professional.
- Do not ignore comments about suicide, violence, or harm to others.
- Seek professional assistance.
* adapted from Fairleigh Dickinson University
NOTE: In cases where a student's behavior poses an imminent threat to you or another, contact KU Public Safety & Police Services immediately at 610-683-4001.