Tips to Help a Friend
As fellow community members, you know your friends, roommates, students, etc, quite well. Often, you are in a position to offer considerable help to your friends and students since they already know and trust you. Here are some tips you can use when offering support to someone before (or in conjunction with) getting them professional help.
L.E.A.R.N. how to help:
- Stop what you’re doing and focus on the person you are talking to.
- Acknowledge what you’ve heard and make sure you are understanding what the person is saying.
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings.
- Express concern and interest.
- Convey warmth and empathy with your tone of voice and body language.
- Avoid becoming defensive or judgemental.
- Remember, even if the problem does not sound serious to you or even if you may have heard of or experienced situations that seem much worse, each crisis is personal and significant for the person experiencing it.
- Ask questions about what the student has already tried or what they think might be helpful.
- Help them in determining their strengths and where they might need extra support.
- Ask questions to find out if this is an emergency or if the person is thinking of hurting themselves. If they are, call Campus Safety at 727-864-8260 right away.
- Brainstorm options and encourage the use of campus resources (RA, Peer Mentor, Outreach Services, Counseling Services,etc).
- Offer to walk with the student to the campus resource.
- Do not agree to remain secretive or confidential about the issue. Explain your limitations and that you are not a professional.
- Make a referral to the Intervention Team
- Contact the appropriate staff on campus based on the issues discussed with the student. For example, if the student is struggling with a roommate issue, contact Residence Life. When in doubt, contact Outreach Services or Campus Safety for assistance.