We recognize that college years can be a time of stress, change, experimentation, excitement, and challenge. While we recognize that stress responses while going through this process are normal, you may find that a peer may benefit from some help. If you notice significant behavioral changes in your friend, that may include but are not limited to major mood changes, withdrawal, academic difficulty, excessive alcohol or drug use, unusual distant or agitated interactions, loss of interest in activities, and or odd behavior, they may benefit from talking to a counselor at UCPS.
How to suggest counseling to a friend
While you may worry that suggesting counseling to a friend may convey a sense of judgment or condemnation, knowing that you care enough about their well-being to suggest seeing a counselor is likely to be perceived as encouragement and permission to also talk with a professional. Offering to go along to the first session might be additionally supportive.
We find it is typically best to communicate your concern directly to peers, while telling them that you would like to see them have more positive and meaningful experiences in their lives. When talking to your friend, it can be helpful to be specific about the behaviors or statements that you are worried about and avoid making generalizations. It can be helpful to share that while you are there for continuing support, there are also others on campus who are available to provide resources and assistance.
If your friend agrees to seek counseling, it can be an act of support to ask whether they would like your help in calling our office and setting up an appointment.
If your friend is reluctant to seek counseling or rejects your referral, and you are significantly concerned about their welfare, call the Dean of Students at (610-758-4156). Someone from that office can help you attain help for your friend.
Finally, the UCPS provides consultation assistance to anyone who is concerned about a Lehigh student. Such consultations can focus on a range of issues. Common topics include how to refer a student to the UCPS or to a mental health care provider in the local community, or how to assist a student experiencing a difficult situation.
To speak with a UCPS staff member about your concerns please call the UCPS at (610) 758-3880 and ask to consult with one of our counselors. If a staff member is available they will speak with you at that time, however if all are currently busy, please leave a message with our administrative staff and someone from the center will return your call as soon as possible.
If it's after hours, and you need immediate support, check out our information on what to do in an emergency. If it's not an emergency, but you were still hoping to talk to someone outside of our operating business hours, My SSP has counselors available 24/7 for on-demand phone and chat support - even if it's not about you!
Just dial 1.844.886.8536 and request a consultation about a peer. For more information about My SSP and their services, check out the full information here.