How to Help Students

Ways to talk with students

Talking about substance use can often feel uncomfortable. Similar to other topics, students may benefit from support people initiating these conversations so that they can get the help and support they need. Here are a few tips in talking to students regarding their use and sharing resources with them.

  1. Share observations and ask “curious questions” like “I am wondering if there are things that may be contributing to the change in your academic work
  2. Show you care about their health, wellness, and success
  3. Be familiar with and connect them to University Resources
  4. Follow up with students (when possible) to see how they have been doing

Mixed Messaging

As university faculty and staff, we are in a unique position to assist with shaping our students well-being for years to come.  There are times were we may unknowingly send “mixed messaging” to our students regarding alcohol and other drug use which creates an unhealthy culture and confusing environment for our students.  Examples of mixed messaging occur when we hold class meetings at bar (especially when any student is under the age of 21), talk about our own “glory days” with students regarding alcohol and drug use, or give misinformation regarding substance use because of our own beliefs, biases, or lack of information regarding substances.  Whether it is an advertisement of substances, encouraging the “rite of passage” idea, or reinforcing a culture where alcohol is included in celebration, we have an opportunity to support students and assist them on making choices that will have positive impacts on their future.

How do you reduce mixed messaging?  

  • Support of students’ education and wellness regarding alcohol and other drug use
  • Increase education regarding facts and myths regarding alcohol and other drug use
  • Be aware of supports or resources for students exhibiting concerning behavior 
  • Explore your own views and how you talk about alcohol and other drugs with students
  • Explore the culture you are creating for students regarding alcohol and other drug use
  • If you see something, say something to the student and/or refer