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A GUIDE FOR STUDENTS How to help a friend in distress

Introduction D URING YOUR TIME AT BENTLEY UNIVERSITY, you may experience upsetting life events that can affect your ability to complete academic work, form healthy relationships, or handle strong emotions. Discussing your problems with someone you trust andor seeking professional help often can lessen the impact. If you know a fellow student in distress whether in your class, a roommate, teammate, or friend you may be able to help. This brochure is designed to provide you with informati

Causes of Distress There are many issues that can cause you to feel stress in your life, including Family problems Problems with a romantic partner or spouse Financial difficulties Significant changes in life circumstances, such as a room change or adjustment to a new place Academic or work difficulties Overcommitment or performance anxiety Depression or anxiety Grief or loss A traumatic event or situation Alcohol or drug problems Signs and Symptoms of Distress People react to upsetti

How to Assist Someone in Getting Help If someone you know is in distress, it is important to let him or her know that you are available and willing to help. Begin by discussing your friends worries or needs. For example, you could say, It seems that from our recent conversations that there is something you really need to talk about. Be sure to avoid labeling the individual or his or her behavior for instance, do not say, You are depressed, or You have an eating disorder. It is also important yo

If a Student is Discussing Suicide or Violence It is never a good idea to ignore comments or behavior about suicide or violence. You should not assume that these will pass, that the person is only joking, or that the student just wants attention. Similarly, do not assume that you can handle a dangerous situation alone seek professional help. A Few Words about Helping a Student in Distress Monitor your own reactions and feelings. It can be stressful to interact with someone in distress. You may

Enabling You should be aware that your attempts to help could positively or negatively enable a distressed student. Positive enabling happens when you respect a students views and struggles while also working to help him or her solve problems and get needed help. Negative enabling is when you allow or accept a students problematic perceptions or behaviors and fail to question or challenge them. As a result, the student does not get the help he or she needs. With either type of enabling, your eff

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