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Supporting Your Student

We understand there may be times when you have concerns about your student. We encourage you to communicate with your student. Try to understand what your student is experiencing. It may be helpful to review a list of distressed, disruptive, and dangerous behavior so that you can gain an understanding of what your student may be describing. 

When communicating with your student it is important to be specific. Identify what behaviors have concerned you. Ask your student if they are experiencing distress of any kind. Listen to the answer. You might then probe by saying things like "tell me more" or "give me examples". Keep conversations open-ended.  Give your student space to share information with you and be careful about being overly critical and judgmental.  You want to encourage safety, offer support, and help.  

If you are concerned that your student might be suicidal, ask. You can say something like, "Have you been thinking of killing yourself" or "Have you thought about ending your life". If your student responds positively, continue to ask questions to determine if they have a plan ("Have you thought about how you would end your life?"), as well as if they have means to do so ("Do you have access to a gun?”).  If you are concerned about your student's safety in this way, call law enforcement right away so that they can work with you to help keep your student safe.

Overall, we want your student to be connected to campus resources and support. Recommend your student get in touch with Case Management in the Office of the Dean of Students. Offer to assist and support your student in making a connection with our office. There are also many other resources on campus available to you and your student. You might do a little research on your own, and then ask them, "Have you thought about [a resource such as Case Management, the Counseling Center, an RA]? I wonder if they may be able to help?"