My Friend Needs Help!
If you need EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE,
please immediately dial 911 from off-campus, or dial
(492) 7777 from on-campus,
or go to the emergency room at one of the area hospitals.
Intervention: Strategies to use when speaking to a friend who might be distressed
Openly acknowledge that you are aware of your friend’s distress and are sincerely concerned about his/her welfare. It is important to speak directly and honestly with your friend when you sense that he/she is emotionally distressed. When you are directly involved with a person experiencing distress we recommend the following:
- Speak in private. This may help minimize embarrassment and defensiveness.
- Briefly acknowledge the behaviors you have seen and express your concerns directly and honestly.
- Listen carefully and try to see the issues from his/her point of view.
- Involve yourself only as far as you feel comfortable. The Counseling Center staff is available to assist you.
Things to keep in mind when dealing with someone in distress
- Be compassionate
- Be caring
- Know your limits in what you are able to deal with
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification in what your friend is explaining
- Pay attention to nonverbal signals/body language
If you are unsure of what to do
If you are concerned about a distressed friend, we encourage you to consult
with one of the counselors on our staff. Once you contact us, a counselor will
be made available to you for consultation as soon as possible. Office hours are
8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call us at 464-1867, inform the
administrative assistant who you are and ask to speak with a counselor.
Referral: Getting your friend help
It would be helpful for your friend to hear your concerns in a clear and concise manner and why you think counseling would be helpful. The following questions and answers may be helpful in your decision to refer someone to the Counseling Center.
When should I refer someone to the Counseling Center?
If you have noticed any of these following signs, please consult with or refer to the Counseling Center. These are common indicators that a person may be experiencing emotional distress.
- Expressed suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Isolating self from others
- High levels of irritability, including undue aggressive or abrasive behavior expressed towards you or others
- Lack of energy
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Bizarre or strange behavior
- Sadness, tearfulness
- Frequent binge eating episodes or extreme loss of appetite
- Dependency, e.g., your friend needs to see you/be with you constantly
- Lack of enthusiasm about various aspects of life
- Unusual bruises on face and/or body
- Abuse of alcohol and other drugs
- Failing to attend class or work
How should I refer someone to the Counseling Center?
You can contact the Counseling Center directly. The Counseling Center accepts both scheduled
appointments and walk-in emergencies. You can help a friend make a connection to the Counseling Center in any of these ways:
- Simply suggest he/she call (Ext. 1867) or go to the Counseling Center to make an appointment
- Volunteer to call the Counseling Center while in the presence of your friend to ensure the contact is made
- You may walk the person over to our office
USI Counseling Center
Orr Center, Room 1051
Counseling Services, 464-1867
Disability Resources, 464-1961
Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.