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How To Help A Friend

General Guidelines

As a friend of another University of Minnesota, Morris student, you have a unique opportunity to positively impact your friend’s life. When a student is upset or in distress, she/he commonly turns to friends for support or advice. College students generally like to help out their friends. Much of the time, this works out well and your input helps your friend through her/his problem. At other times the problems that are brought by a friend can be very intense, feel overwhelming, or make you feel afraid. It is important to pay attention to these feelings, since they may be signaling that you are at the limits of what you know to do to be helpful. It is at this time that you can best help your friend by suggesting that she/he might benefit from talking to a professional.

Remember: You are not alone! When you are in a situation in which you are talking with a friend about her/his problems, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Do not take on other people’s problems and then feel responsible for the outcome of the problem. If you find that you are spending large amounts of time talking to your friend, worrying about her/him, and/or trying to solve their problems for her/him, it is time for you to bring in other people to help. You are here for an education and growth experiences, and taking on other’s problems distracts you from those goals.
  • Do not promise your friend confidentiality of any information they may pass along to you when they talk to you about a problem. By doing so, you may later be in a difficult situation if the situation is beyond what you can assist and has possibly turned into a situation involving danger for your friend or others. You may delay asking for needed help because you promised not to tell anyone.
  • Get support for yourself if you feel you need it or if you do not know what to do to help your friend any further. There are many resources available at the university and you can find these listed at the mental health web page. Student Counseling provides consultation to students and other who are unsure about what to do to help a distressed student. If you are in the residence halls, please talk with a residence hall staff member and they can direct you to additional resources as well.
  • Safety always comes first. If you are concerned for the safety of you, your friend, or anyone else, call the Campus Police immediately. 320-589-6000
  • If you feel an issue was a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, please contact the Secretary of the Student Behavior Committee, and the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life, Henry Fulda. 320-589-6470.



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