Tips for Talking to Students about Mental Health

If you are not comfortable talking with a student about their mental health, please refer them to the Dean of Students Office, CAPS, or the Health and Wellness Center for follow-up. If a student is in imminent danger of self-harm or threatening others, please notify SUU Police immediately.

Find a quiet and private place to talk.

  • “I noticed that you have been absent from class a lot lately and I’m worried about you.”
  • “It seems your motivation to be successful in class has changed since the beginning of the semester and I wanted to check in with you about that.”
  • “I know you have had a lot going on in your life lately and I just wanted to see how things are going.”
  • “Tell me more about what is going on in your life right now.”
  • “Help me understand what has changed for you recently.”
  • “Let me see if I understand this, you [insert your summary of what they are saying]. Is that correct?”
  • “That sounds really heavy, it makes sense that you haven’t been coming to class.”
  • “If I were going through something like you are, I would probably feel the same way.”
  • “You have so much going on right now, I can see why your classes haven’t been your priority.”
  • “What are you doing right now to manage all of this?”
  • “Tell me more about the support you have in place.”
  • “How can I help/support you?”
  • “Can I share your name with our Dean of Students? They can help connect you with important resources on campus.”
  • “Are you familiar with our counseling center? Let’s look at their website or give them a call together.”

The most important thing is to say something (to the student or to the appropriate campus department) when you see something concerning. The next most important thing is to help the student see that they have people who care about them and their well-being.

Please remember that you can call the Dean of Students or CAPS at any time for consultation and support.

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