Inquire about whether the student is already connected to resources. Let them know there are supports available to them, both on- and off-campus. Normalize the use of mental health services and highlight the strength and courage it takes to seek help . Encourage them to seek support and access these resources. Provide the student with the referral information for the appropriate resources. Extend your support by offering to call the resources with the student to set up an appointment or walk with them to the health and wellness centre to seek help .
Statements of support
  • “Is this something you would like help with? I can recommend some resources.”
  • “If you would like, we can call together to make an appointment.”
  • “I’m happy to walk with you to the office, if you would like.”

For emergency situations, always call 911 and then notify the appropriate campus department.

Engaging the appropriate resources

If you are concerned for the student’s safety as a result of potentially engaging a specific resource (e.g., campus security/police), reflect on whether there are equally effective safer options that you can make a referral to (e.g., a mobile crisis unit). If there are not any equally effective safer options to offer, proceed with engaging the resource and consider the ways you can remain an advocate and effective bystander for that person when that resource is engaged. This will be further covered in the section of this toolkit titled “The Effects of Policing on Certain Student Populations”.

Next steps

If you are comfortable doing so and have established appropriate boundaries, you can follow-up with the student or let them know you are available if they need additional resources or support. Try not to inquire about their decision to seek help or not, but rather let them know they can always reach out if they need support.

Student declines referral

It is important to understand that you are only able to provide information and encourage the student to seek help. It is ultimately the student’s decision whether they follow through with the referral or not. If a student does not wish to seek help, it is important to respect the student’s decision. Do not force the issue or pressure them to seek help. Leave the door open for further conversation by letting them know they can always get in touch with you again if they reconsider or need additional support.


Guide: PDF Version