Family and friends

This section is designed for families, friends and supporters of student’s dealing with mental health issues. You will find advice with concrete examples on how to recognize signs of distress, how to help your young adult and how to properly refer to our on-campus resources. Additionally, tips for transitioning can be found here.


Families can have a large impact on their young adults’ success at university.  It’s important to acknowledge and recognize as your daughter/son transitions through their university years; they will change, learn new skills and become increasingly independent. Giving support, guidance and helping them learn to resolve issues will help them mature and develop resilience strategies.  It’s important to listen, encourage them to solve the problem on their own and/or assist them in finding the resources they may need.

You can probably anticipate many students feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or even depressed at times. While these feelings often resolve themselves without assistance, sometimes they do not. It’s often helpful for a student to discuss their concerns with a family member or a trained professional. Listening with compassion and without judgment is important. This website contains mental health resources (on and off-campus) that you can recommend when needed. The support system students create is critical in maintaining and sustaining positive mental well-being.

It’s important to acknowledge and recognize as your child becomes more independent and transitions through her/his university years you will also be going through a period of transition. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the balance between “letting go” and “supporting,” especially from a distance.Giving support and guidance to your young adult is important. Helping her/him learn to resolve issues and develop problem-solving skills will help her/him to mature and gain confidence in her/himself.

Friends, peers and supporters

While in university, students will make many new friends, work with different students and encounter new and challenging situations. You may find yourself talking with someone who has identified a concern or whom you are worried about. The first step in being an effective friend or supporter is to listen. Listening with compassion and without judgment is important. Be aware of the resources you can recommend.

If you have a relationship or rapport with the student, speaking directly with her/him may be the best option. Begin the conversation by expressing your concerns about the specific behaviour(s) you’ve observed.

If you don’t really know the student, you may prefer to contact Personal Counselling x3240 or one of our nurses at Student Health Services x4693. If the incident occurs after hours contact one of the “After Hours Crisis Resources” (information located on the right side of page) for advice.