I am not feeling like myself, but how do I know if I need help?
- It is healthy to notice personal distress and to reach out for help.
- Any problem that is causing concern is an appropriate reason to talk to someone about it.
- Remember that you are not alone. Others do care and can help.
- Be careful not to isolate or maintain unhealthy habits to cope.
- Reach out to others for support and help in problem solving
Who can I call or speak with when I feel distressed?
- A trusted friend
- Someone in your family
- A respected, trusted campus community member
- A spiritual counselor or minister or rabbi
- A medical provider
- A mental health provider
What if my issue is urgent and I need help now?
- Call 911.
- Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255
- Text the crisis line – text HOME to 741741
- Go directly to the emergency department of the nearest hospital
- Call Campus police 919-962-8100.
- Students, grad students and post-docs can all CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) 24/7 919-966-3658
- If you are an employee, reach out to EAP (Employee Assistance Program)
Help Someone Else
What are some signs that a person needs immediate help?
- Immediate safety concerns, including suicidal attempt, gesture, threat, or stated intention; behavior posing a threat to self.
- A homicidal attempt, gesture, threat, or stated intention; behavior posing a threat to others.
- Loss of contact with reality.
- Inability to care for oneself.
Who can help me get help for someone else?
- You can ALWAYS call and ask about the situation.
- CAPS 24/7 (to ask about students, grad students or post-docs) 919-966-3658
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255
What are some basic guidelines for helping someone else face a mental health challenge?
- Consider time and place. Find an appropriate time and place to speak with the distressed person – ideally in private and at a time and place that allows you both to focus on the conversation without distraction.
- Say what you see. Be objective and describe what you observe that is concerning to you. Avoid making assumptions about why the person is distressed. Indicate that you are concerned about their wellbeing and that you want to help.
- Ask about what seems to be happening and then listen. Listen carefully, sensitively, without judgment. Give them your undivided attention. Accept the person “as is,” without agreeing or disagreeing with their behavior or point of view.
- Empathize. Sincerely communicate your understanding of the issue as they describe it, in both content and feeling.
- Offer Hope. Remind the person that the situation can improve, and that things will not always seem so bad. Avoid criticizing, moralizing, correcting, or trying to fix or make decisions for the person. Give reassurance and information. People can and do recover from mental illness.
- Encourage the person to continue to talk about their issues. Remind them that it is normal to talk with someone they can trust when in need of help. Talking is a natural way to relieve stressful emotions. Ask about and encourage self-care techniques they have used in the past.
- Offer Options. The person may find it helpful to talk with other supportive people. Consider offering to help them reach out while you’re together or even to attend the conversation with them. There are many options for support including a trusted campus community member, a family member, a medical provider, a spiritual leader, or a mental health provider.
- Be Available and Follow-Up. Remain open to further discussions. Let them know that you are available if they need you. Check back with the person, because you care about how they are feeling.
- Remember Your Role and Your Own Limits. Your role is to provide support and to suggest other options when support is not enough. Do not become more involved than your time and skill permits. If the issues are beyond your ability to help, call a mental health provider and ask how you can best help.
If someone is reluctant to reach out for help (and it’s not an emergency), remember that seeking therapy is a personal choice.
- No one can make a person’s choice for them.
- Don’t force the issue, simply restate your concerns and the available options.
- Suggest that confronting a problem is a positive sign of health and maturity.
- Acknowledge, validate, and discuss the person’s concerns about reaching out for help.
- Remind them that mental health providers years of expertise in helping people like them.
- Remind them that many services are free and confidential.
- Be friendly, remain open and available to help in the future. Suggest they take some time to think it over.