Signs That your Friend May Need Help…
- Chronic procrastination
- Missing classes
- Decreases in academic performance
- Socially Withdrawn
- Sleep changes; need for more sleep or need for less
- Appetite changes
- Deteriorating hygiene and overall self-care
- Irritability; frequent arguments and conflicts
- Binge drinking or drug use
- Self-injurious behavior
- Excessive worry, anxiety, fear, or panic
- Feelings of hopeless, worthlessness, and/or thoughts of suicide
- Recent losses
- Low energy
- Frequent physical symptoms (headaches, stomachaches, muscle pain)
- Risky sexual activity
- Mood swings
Things You Can Do…
- Listen actively and fully and offer your support. Take time out and make sure you can be attentive on what your friend is saying. Encourage them to talk. Clarify what they are saying. Reflect your friends’ feelings. Be compassionate and validate their feelings and experiences. Keep your own feelings and advice in check. Be compassionate and validate their feelings and experiences.
- Brainstorm ideas and possible solutions. Play out possible alternatives and weigh the pros and cons of each. Help your friend make a decision that works best for them and offer your support.
- Encourage your friend to seek out resources and talk to other friends and family. Help them expand upon their support network.
- Pay attention. Do not ignore it. Instead approach your friend and without judgment, let your friend know that you are concerned about their well-being. Expressing your concern demonstrates that you care!
- Express your feelings with “I” statements. Focusing on specific behaviors is often a good approach: “I’m concerned about your drinking lately.” “I’m worried about how sad you seem.” “I want to be able to offer you my support.”
- Educate yourself about resources available to your friend. Counselors, psychologists, other healthcare providers can help. They can also help you find ways to help your friend.
- Be honest with yourself. Know your limitations. Make sure you have the time and energy to give your friend before you agree to help.
- Don’t take it on alone. You may not feel qualified to help your friend with their problems. Learn about resources on campus such as counseling, health services, mentoring, and/or spiritual guidance.
- Establish trust. Protect your friend’s confidentiality and keep what is said between the two of you unless your friend or others are in danger.
- Stay in touch. Keep in regular contact with your friend and encourage them to talk to you or other friends so that they establish a strong support network.
What if My Friend Wants to Try Counseling?
Seton Hall University offers free and confidential therapeutic services to matriculated undergraduate and graduate students. Our offices are located in Mooney Hall on the 2nd Floor. We are open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Some later evening hours are available by appointment only. If a student has an emergency after hours, they can contact Public Safety and Security at (973) 761-9300 and ask to speak to the psychologist on-call.
If your friend is interested in counseling they can contact us at (973) 761-9500 to make an appointment. If this is your friend’s first time coming to Counseling Services, they will need to schedule an initial intake assessment with one of our clinical staff. The intake typically lasts for an hour and allows the clinician to gather relevant information about your friend’s presenting concerns. After this initial meeting, students are assigned to work with one of our professional staff in either individual or group therapy.
What if My Friend Is In Crisis?
If you are with a friend in crisis, it is always recommended that you and/or another student walk your friend over to our office. If you are unable to do so and have concerns about your friend’s safety, you can call Counseling Services or Public Safety for additional assistance. We are also available for walk-in appointments from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday – Friday for students in crisis. No appointments are necessary for student’s dealing with a psychological crisis or emergency! If the emergency occurs after hours please consult our Psychological Emergency Assistance page on this site.
Remember, that you do not need to take on your friend’s problems all by yourself. There are many resources available to help on campus. Please reach out to Counseling Services if you feel your friend could use additional support!