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  • Seek suggestions from experienced colleagues and your department chair.
  • Review your physical environment and allow sufficient privacy and time to meet.
  • Know the available campus resources and the referral processes.
  • Remain calm and know who to call for help in case of need.
  • If you decide not to have direct contact with the student, refer the student to the Center for Assessment, Referral and Education (CARE) or complete the Student Life Referral form.


  • Listen supportively. Repeat the student’s statement to clarify and demonstrate an understanding of the student’s perspective.
  • Ask if the student wants to hurt themselves. Asking does not plant ideas in the student’s mind.
  • Do not challenge or become argumentative with the student.
  • Do not try to minimize the student’s distress.
  • Respect the student’s privacy without making false promises of confidentiality.
  • Document all incidents and attempts to resolve the situation.

Making a Referral

  • Be honest with the student about your limits of expertise.
  • Recommend services and provide direct referrals.
  • Frame any decision to seek and accept help as a positive choice.
  • If necessary, find someone to stay with the student while calls to the appropriate resources are made, and offer to escort the student.
  • Keep in mind the guidelines for responding to a student of concern and that your own well-being is very important.