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Mentoring Students with Mental Health Concerns

Mentors encourage students dealing with mental health concerns to seek help from a professional.

Advising Students with Mental Health Concerns

Two students talking and smiling

Students away from home for the first time may experience depression or anxiety. Many students may feel alone in their struggles and may not know where to go. Along with giving frequent encouragement in the classroom, it is important that mentors direct them to get proper help from a professional.

Referring Students to the Counseling Center
Informing students about the resources available at the Counseling Center will increase the probability that they will attend an appointment. Follow these general guidelines when referring students to the Counseling Center:

  • Inform them that services begin with a brief consultation with a counselor. Students may have heard that there is a long waiting list, but if it is an emergency, they can be seen that day.
  • If they are concerned, remind them of the privacy laws at the Counseling Center. Topics discussed in therapy sessions cannot be shared with the Student Honor Office, faculty members, parents, roommates, or other doctors without a release form.
  • If they refuse to visit the Counseling Center, suggest that they visit a physician or religious authority. The Counseling Center can also provide students with a list of local therapists and counselors if they choose not to use the university’s counselors.
  • If you believe it would be helpful for you to share some information with the counselor, always get students’ permission first.

Following up After the Referral
It is okay to ask students if they went to their appointment, but it is up to them to share anything other than that. Do not try to force them to open up outside of counseling. Remember that your role as a mentor is to be supportive and to help connect them to resources that can help them.

Student Crisis Prevention Number: (208) 496-HELP

A mentor helping a student
Following these guidelines can help mentors better understand how to help students who struggle with mental health concerns.

Identifying Depression and Anxiety in Students

If you notice any of these changes in students, reach out to them to ensure that they have all that they need.

  • Suggestions of suicide, depression, or severe anxiety in peer conversation and written assignments
  • Sudden negative change in hygiene
  • Change in class participation
  • Sudden change in exam and assignment grades
  • Frequent absences or consistent tardiness
  • Visible cuts and bruises

If you suspect that a student’s depression or anxiety stems from sexual assault or misconduct, call the Title IX Office right away.

Assisting Students' Suicidal Roommates

If students ask you what to do with a roommate or friend who is dealing with suicidal thoughts, direct them to the Dean of Students and the Counseling Center. It may also be appropriate to direct their roommate to the Student Crisis Prevention Number, which is available 24/7 at (208) 496-9370.

Also, if in assessing the situation you feel that students are extremely burdened, please report a concern to the Dean of Students Office. This report can be filed anonymously and will be reviewed by the Dean of Students, who will be able to assess the situation and provide all students involved with the proper resources.

HIPAA Concerns

Due to the privacy laws in place at the BYU-Idaho Health Center, mentors cannot obtain any medical records or statements on students' well-being from therapists or medical providers. Mentors may ask students about their struggles and personal lives, but students are not required to discuss anything with them, other faculty, parents, or ecclesiastical leaders.

Additional Resources For Students
The Wellness Center offers free workshops that teach students how to deal with anxiety, depression, and stress. These workshops are held every week of each semester. No registration required.

Visit the Wellness Center Event Page