Helping Others

Helping Others


Mental Help Folder

mental help folder link

This quick guide is designed to assist faculty and others to support students in distress.
Mental Help Folder

What to Do and Say

The most important information we can convey to another human being is that we care and they matter. A safe campus is a caring campus!


  • It’s OK to ask during a one-on-one conversation and express concern
  • Be specific about the behaviour that concerns you

Sample Script: I’ve noticed you’ve been absent from class lately and I’m concerned about you.


  • Listen openly and non-judgmentally

Sample Script: Can you tell me more? Is there anything I can do to help you?


  • Acknowledge the person’s thoughts and feelings in a compassionate way
  • Offer hope and reassure the student you are concerned and want to help

Sample Script: It sounds like you are feeling out of place. You’re not alone and we have resources to help.


  • Provide person with resources (see last two pages of Mental Help Folder for list)
  • See bottom of page for tips on making referrals
  • Offer to make the call with the person
  • If comfortable, walk with person to a resource

Sample Script: Seeking help can feel scary but it’s a sign of strength. If you’d like, I can call and connect you to a resource while you are here with me.

Making a good referral

  • Point out that help is available and that seeking help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness. Acknowledge that seeking help can be scary.
  • See the I Need Help section for resources to share with the person or contact Student Counselling Services (if a student) 403.440.6263 or the Mental Health Nurse (if a student or employee) at 403.440.6326 for recommendations on how to approach the situation. If the person is reluctant, you can help by:
    • Offering to contact the resource on their behalf while the person is with you.
    • Offering to sit with the person while they make the initial contact themselves.
    • Accompanying the person to an on-campus resource if appropriate and you feel comfortable.
  • Tell the person about this web page where they can find resources such as contact numbers, locations, etc., in the I Need Help section.
  • Offer to follow up with the person, but don’t insist on knowing what the person has done.

If a person says "no" to a referral

Respect the person’s decision. Accepting or refusing assistance must be left up to the individual, except in emergency situations where the life of the person (or others) is in danger.

  • Know the person’s response to you is not personal.
  • Don’t force the issue or trick the individual into going.
  • Try to leave the door open for later consideration.
  • If you need personal support, reach out to colleagues and or/a counsellor

Sample Script: I respect your decision. I hope you will keep these options in mind. My door is always open.

If in doubt, please contact Student Counselling Servivces 403.440.6362 for support on what to say, how to say it, or where to refer someone who is in need.