Make Contact

  • Talk directly with the person
  • Stay calm and express your concern
  • Listen carefully
  • Take the concerns seriously
  • Use supportive communication

Supportive Communication

  • Be patient, give the person the opportunity to talk
  • Let the person know you are listening via your verbal and non-verbal responses
  • Set aside your biases
  • Be non-judgemental
  • Determine what the person needs from you
  • Minimize the person's feelings
  • Express disapproval of the thoughts or feelings discussed
  • Ask "Why" questions
  • Be defensive or personalize what the person is saying

Be Aware of Your Own Limitations

  • Consult with an on-campus counsellor or advisor
  • Do not take on too much responsibility
  • Do not deal with a crisis alone
  • Do get other people involved

What to Say

Make a general statement such as: "You seem to be fairly upset about this and I think that you could use some help in sorting out these issues. I am concerned about you and I would like you to consider talking with a counsellor."

If the referral is rejected, do not take it personally. Listen to the person's concerns about seeking help. Normalize the referral process, making it clear that your wanting the person to see a counsellor does not mean that you think that there is something wrong with the person. Emphasize that Western provides free counselling and that the person can check it out to see if it is helpful. Keep the lines of communication open.