Stress is a normal part of life, and certainly an expected part of college life. Most students will have periods of stress and may even experience times of distress during their time at UNCG.  Family, faculty, staff, and friends are often the ones who see a student struggling and want to help. 

UNCG has an extensive support network for students regardless of the concern. There is support for everyone at UNCG and NO ONE has to struggle alone! Sometimes, we just have to reach out and ask for help—either for ourselves, or for someone we care about.    

Faculty & Staff can find guidance for supporting student mental health here.

Sudden, extreme and prolonged changes in behavior, appearance and mood are often indicators that someone isn’t OK. If you are worried about a student and/or friend, the best thing to do is talk to them directly about your concerns. You can also call Counseling & Psychological Services (336-334-5874) to ask for a brief consultation with a counselor to discuss your concerns and how to best manage them. Some examples of behaviors and changes of concern include: 

  • Sudden decline in quality of work and grades 
  • Extreme mood changes or excessive, inappropriate displays of emotions 
  • Social isolation or declining engagement with class, instructors, or peers 
  • Not responding to outreach 
  • What they say to you: ”I’ve been really stressed,” “I have been feeling overwhelmed.” 
  • Extreme changes in personal hygiene 
  • Disclosure of family problems, financial difficulties, depression, grief, suicidal thoughts or self-injury 
  • Excessive fatigue or sleep disturbance 
  • Sharing bizarre, disorganized or garbled/disjointed thoughts 
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility 
  • Making implied or direct threats to harm self or others 
  • Use of alcohol or other substances 

If your student is showing signs of being in distress or needing support, don’t be afraid to talk to them directly about your concerns. It can be most effective to find a private space and to share specifically what has concerned you (“I noticed that you have been missing classes lately. How are you feeling?”). How the conversation unfolds with your student/friend will depend on the relationship you have, but here are some recommendations about helpful ways to get started. 

  • Don’t Wait: If you are concerned, talk to them as soon as possible.  Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions.   If you are worried for their safety, you can simply ask “have thought about killing yourself?” or “have you been thinking about ending your life?”  Being direct and open about suicide shows that you are willing to help them, no matter what the answer. 
  • Listen: Listen with interest and compassion and without judgment. Asking open- ended questions, instead of closed questions, is a powerful way to show support and to listen. A closed question is “Do you like hot dogs” — your friend can answer that with a simple yes or no. Not a lot to listen compassionately to there. Instead ask “What do you love about hot dogs?” and follow it up with “Tell me more.” Non-verbals can be very helpful to encourage sharing. Offering advice or your own experiences can be a distraction. 
  • Erase stigma: Normalize that everybody struggles with mental health and needs to take care of themselves.
  • Offer Help & Be Patient: Encourage your friend, student, or child to seek help by contacting one of the resources listed here (link to get help now).  Offer to go with them if they want. If they are not ready, be patient.  You may not be the one they turn to for support.  Plant a seed and make sure they know that they are not alone and that there are many ways to get help.   If you are concerned for their immediate safety or the safety of others, call 988 or 911. 

  • Learn more about Our Services, how to Get Help Now and How to Make An Appointment
  • Knowledge is Power. Providing a student/friend with information about counseling services, sharing that they are at no additional cost (link to FAQs) and have same day services (link to our services page) can provide assurance that getting counseling is possible.
  • Stigma is real. Unfortunately, many students still believe that others would judge them for seeking mental health support or having mental health concerns. If you have experience with mental health concerns or counseling and feel comfortable, share this with your student/friend to let them know that they are not alone. 
  • Some community members walk with a student/friend to Counseling & Psychological Services as a source of support.
  • Know that you can’t force someone into counseling, it is a choice.

Whether you are staff, faculty, a student or family member, if you are concerned about someone in our community, you can complete Concerning Behavior Report  

contact us

Phone: 336.334.5874

Fax: 336.334.3900

Location: 2nd floor, 107 Gray Drive

Counseling & Psychological Services

counseling & psychological services


2nd Floor, Gove Student Health Services

107 Gray Drive, Greensboro, NC 27412

PHONE: 336.334.5874

social media


Share This