Mental Wellness Hub

Response Strategies for Someone in Distress


1.  It is okay to ask and express concern.  Be specific regarding the worries you have.

“I am concerned, you’ve missed three out of our last four seminars and now your assignment is two days late. Is everything okay?”


2.  Meet in a private location and allow an adequate amount of time to talk.  Be patient and give your undivided attention.  Listen without judgement and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings with compassion.  Offer hope and reassure them that you are concerned and want to help.

“Sounds like some days you feel hopeless and think, why should I bother to get out of bed.”

“You don’t have to be alone with this. I’m here and I know people who can help.”

Remind the person in distress of the benefit of on campus supports and provide these resources to them.  If possible, write the information out for them and acknowledge the success other people have had with these supports.

  “Let me write down the contact information for the service we talked about."  

  "Remember they are here for a reason, alot of people need help at some point while they’re here.”

4.  Offer to assist the person with the call and offer to meet afterwardsYour offer of assistance may be rejected.  The person may not want to talk to a professional about what they are experiencing.  Take time to listen to their fears and concerns about seeking help.  Let them know you are offering the referral because you are concerned and care for them.
If necessary, seek the help of others.


“Counselling records are strictly confidential and there is no shame in looking after yourself and your emotional health.  You are not alone! 



5.  Offer hope and reassurance.  Always take the person's concern(s) seriously!

  "With some help, I am confident you can get through this difficult time".