- falling grades
- test anxiety
- excessive procrastination and perfectionism
- loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, reluctance to talk
- sleeping too much or too little
- inability to concentrate, indecisiveness, confusion
- change in appetite
- extreme guilt, self-blame, helplessness, hopelessness
- loss of warm feelings towards family or friends; loss of self-esteem
- frequent headaches and stomachaches
- anxiety or panic attacks
- lack of energy or chronic fatigue
- unusual conversation
- unusual irritability, outbursts of anger, unexplained crying, aggressiveness or anxiety
- decline in personal appearance
- persistent lying or stealing
- drug or alcohol abuse
- self injury
- extreme feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness
- preoccupation with death
- giving away valued possessions
- thoughts, threats or plans for suicide
- writing about suicide or death
- financial difficulties
- unmanageable work schedule
- death or serious illness of a loved one
- personal illness
- problems in relationships
- extreme shyness
- adjustment to university life
- trauma due to a recent crisis
- Choose a time when you have privacy and can listen.
- Show your concern. A good opening line is, "I am concerned about you. I have noticed ______ (describe specific behaviours). I am wondering if you need support right now."
- Don't promise confidentiality if a friend discloses suicidal thoughts or a plan to harm someone else. See When to Intervene for more details.
- Listen to the person's point of view, empathize with the person's concerns in a non-judgmental manner and instill hope by letting your friend know that help is available if needed.
- Avoid trying to provide a "quick fix" to a complex problem. Showing understanding and respect is more important than telling the person what to do.
- Be aware of student services on campus, such as MacEwan Health Services or the Student Life Office in order to direct them to the appropriate on-campus service.
- Be aware of your personal limits while helping.
When people refuse help
Sometimes, people are neither ready nor willing to accept help. In these situations, your can express your concern in a direct manner, make a suggestion, and then allow the person to make a choice. If they disagree, they are probably not ready to admit the problem or think about changing.
Even if someone is not ready to seek help, your honesty and concern may affect them more than you realize. Many times, people who initially reject help will seek out assistance when they are ready.