Last update: August 22, 2022

1. When reaching out to the student

  • Be specific about the signs and behaviours you’ve noticed (e.g., "I've noticed you've missed the last two midterms.").
  • Express your concern (e.g., "I am concerned and wanted to check in to see how you're doing.").
  • Reassure the student that reaching out to students who may be struggling is something all UBC faculty and staff do to help.

If a student doesn't want help

  • Respect their decision. Accepting or refusing assistance must be left up to the student, except in emergencies.
  • Don’t force the issue or pressure them into going to a referred resource.
  • Try to leave room for reconsideration later on (e.g., "If you change your mind you can always access the resources I've provided to you.").

2. Respond with empathy and normalize stress

  • Listen actively and help the student feel heard and understood (e.g., "It sounds like you're facing some difficulties in your life right now.").
  • Where stress seems related to academic pressures, acknowledge that stress is a normal part of the university experience.

3. Ask open-ended questions

Giving students an opportunity to talk often has a calming effect and helps to clarify their concerns:

  • "What have you tried so far?"
  • "What do you think the main challenge is?"
  • "What type of support would be helpful?"

4. Discuss resource options with the student

  • Point out that help is available.
  • Remind the student that while seeking help can feel difficult at first, it's a sign of strength.
  • Provide the student with information about resources and supports.
  • Encourage the student to identify the next steps they plan to take.
  • If the student is a survivor of sexual assault, consult SVPRO resources.

See support options

5. Enter an Early Alert concern

Whether or not you’ve had a conversation with the student, submit an Early Alert concern. Early Alert is monitored 7 days a week.

Learn about Early Alert