Appropriate Responses

  • Ask the student to meet privately.  
  • Be direct and let the student know what you have noticed or why you are concerned. 
  • Ask open-ended questions (“How are things going for you this semester?”). Open-ended questions encourage communication and allow the student to tell their story. 
  • Listen to the student’s response and do not be scared off by an emotional response; talking about a problem or labeling a crisis is the first step toward resolving it.
  • Be careful not to promise to keep information confidential. Let the student know you can offer them privacy but not confidentiality. (“I may need to share this information with others if I feel there is a safety risk or other serious concern.”)
  • Identify Campus Resources that could help the student.
  • If the student agrees to go to one of these offices, notify that office before the student arrives, indicate the level of urgency and reason for your referral, and offer to accompany the student to the office.
  • Let the student know you’ll be checking back in with them to see how things are going and follow-up with the student.
  • Set boundaries around further concerning behavior, if appropriate.