Worried about someone?
You may have a feeling that someone you know isn't OK and may benefit from counselling. The person you're worried about may be facing challenges at university, relationship issues or a break-up, difficult family situations, loneliness, depressed mood or anxiety, the death of a loved one, or other situations which are impacting on their personal wellbeing or everyday life. They may also be distressed or simply not seem like themselves without being able to identify a cause.
What can you do to support someone who is not OK?
- Approach the person with your observations and express your care and concern
- Listen to the person - try your best to set aside judgement, and don't rush to fix or advise
- Ask the person "How can I help?"
- Encourage them to consider linking in with other people in their support network, helpful ways they have coped in the past, and what actions they could take now
- Encourage them to seek professional help when it seems necessary
- Be realistic about what you can offer - don't get involved beyond what seems comfortable or appropriate to you
- Remember your responsibility to look after yourself
If people maintain contact with you after discussing a referral, continue to be supportive and encouraging, but stay within your realm of responsibility. Remember, readiness is an essential component of effective help, and your support may enable them to seek further assistance later.
Counselling cannot work effectively unless it is voluntary and people hold some hope that it can lead to relief. If people attend from a sense of obligation, they might not be able to talk freely. Raise the idea of seeing a counsellor without forcing the issue. While you might give the phone number or mention the name of a Counsellor/service you know, you should not ordinarily make the appointment on their behalf.
In rare instances, when people are in crisis, it may be helpful to phone the Service for them, but it is still best to let them do the talking if they can.
Please call us if you are uncertain about making a referral, or you are worried about someone. Staff at Counselling and Psychological Services welcome the opportunity to help in this way. If you are concerned about the seriousness or urgency of a problem but the person is unwilling to be referred, please discuss it with us.
If you are a Staff member worried about a student, please refer to more specific information hereabout how you can support a student of concern.