How To Help

Starting the Conversation

University life can have a unique set of stressors throughout the year, and sometimes stress begins to affect well-being. Common behavioural indicators can help determine the appropriate level of response to assist someone who is struggling. Trusting your instincts and understanding these indicators can help you in responding appropriately and getting the individual the help they need, before their situation escalates to something more serious. 

The "How To Help" framework provides steps for communicating care and support when assisting someone. For most, having someone to speak with and feel understood will be enough.

*This section is based on the Helping Skills™ content from the Community Helpers Program.


Assisting Someone in Distress

Common behavioural indicators can help determine the appropriate level of response to assist someone in distress. Trusting your instincts and understanding these indicators can help you in responding appropriately and getting the individual the help they need.

Concerning Situations

Those who are showing sign of concerning behaviours likely have options for support, but may need to be reminded of these and/or to be connected with similar supports in the campus community.

Critical Situations

Those who are showing signs of critical behaviours likely need professional support and/or intervention due to the ongoing and/or disruptive nature of their concerns. These situations need to be addressed and followed up with, but may not require immediate action. 

Urgent Situations

Those who are showing signs of severe behaviours are in need of immediate attention and intervention by other helping professionals and/or emergency services.


If there is immediate risk of harm to self or others, contact 911 or University of Alberta Protective Services at 780-492-5050.