Connecting a Friend to the UCC

Do you have a friend whose behavior has changed, has major mood swings, or seems to be distancing themselves? It is common for students to feel stressed or overwhelmed in their college life at some point. A few common experiences that students might face throughout college include: feeling homesick, family concerns, relationship issues, procrastination, pressure from exams and grades, and/or feeling alone. The University Counseling Center can help GVSU students manage these issues.

In many cases, it’s easier to express anger, embarrassment, depression, or even thoughts of suicide to someone close. As a friend, your best support would be to connect them with the University Counseling Center services. While the UCC does not call students to initiate care, we will provide you with information on how to address the situation via consultation.

Call the University Counseling Center at (616) 331-3266 to consult with us about your concerns about a friend or someone you know. UCC counselors can offer suggestions and ideas about referral options, resources, and other ways to address your concerns.


SIGNS I SHOULD CONNECT A FRIEND WITH THE UCC:

If you are concerned at any time for the friend's safety or the safety of others, please call 911 for assistance. A police officer can perform a welfare check and connect the student with appropriate resources. It’s better to be safe and make sure your friend has the help they need.

A student should ALWAYS be connected with the Counseling Center if they are...

  • Suicidal
  • Severely depressed
  • Abusing substances (drugs, alcohol)
  • Practicing self-injury behaviors (cutting, burning, etc.)
  • Experiencing physical or emotional trauma
  • Has been sexually assaulted
  • Experiencing an eating disorder
  • Having a panic attack
  • Suddenly or dramatically changing their behavior
    (includes appetite, sleep, and mood)
  • Unable to care for themselves
  • Severely distorted thoughts (i.e., hearing or seeing things that aren't there; severe paranoid thinking)

Learn more about our same-day emergency appointments.

In these and other instances, connecting the student with the Counseling Center may be advised. 

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Career & academic concerns
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Grief and loss
  • Personal growth issues

How do I talk with my friend about accessing services?

Although it may feel intrusive or uncomfortable to address these personal issues with your friend, more often than not they will appreciate your efforts in the long run. Tell them you would like to speak with them about what you've been noticing. In the course of sharing your concern provide information and options regarding available campus and community resources. Follow the tips below:

  • Be mindful of their privacy.
  • Listen carefully; show concern and interest.
  • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
  • Suggest the University Counseling Center services as a resource. Offer to show them our website (www.gvsu.edu/counsel) or have a brochure printed out and ready to give them. 
  • Explain to your friend that services at the UCC are confidential. Let them know that UCC staff will not discuss their concerns with anyone (including you) without their written permission.
  • Let them know that first-time appointments are designed to be quick access and are typically scheduled within 48-hours. These appointments will gather information from them to get a clearer picture of their needs and plan the most appropriate course of action (i.e. group therapy, individual therapy, referral to community provider). 
  • If your friend resists help and you're still worried, you may file a Care Report for non-emergency support. The GVSU CARE Team will reach out to the student to discuss appropriate resources and supports, including UCC services.

Can I call the University Counseling Center and make the appointment on my friend’s behalf?

No. We are unable to allow anyone other than the student to make an appointment at the University Counseling Center. You can be most helpful by encouraging your friend to make an appointment or by allowing them to call from your dorm room or with you present.