Expressing Concern for a Student

Before expressing concern directly to the student, it may help to discuss the situation with someone else, such as a trusted friend or family member.  CAPS clinicians are also available to provide consultation, which  can help you explore different options to assist the student you are concerned about. Call CAPS during business hours at 206.296.6090 to request consultation.

Here are some communication strategies that might be helpful to you in expressing your concern: 

Express your concern directly to the person you are worried about. It is important to do so in a compassionate and non-blaming manner. Avoid giving ultimatums or trying to pressure someone into changing or getting help.

  • Express your concern using "I" statements. For example, you might say to a friend whose alcohol use concerns you, "I'm worried about you because I notice you're drinking more, and not making it to your morning classes."
  • Make observations about their behavior and refrain from speculations about reasons for their behavior.
  • Let the person know that you care about them and want to help.
  • Say "tell me more about…"
  • Listen with your full attention.
  • Be patient and don't jump to conclusions or offer quick solutions.
  • Empower the individual to make a change by asking what they think might be helpful.