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How to Respond

Gannett Health Services
110 Ho Plaza
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-3101

Tel: 607 255-5155
Fax: 607 255-0269

When you notice a student in distress, your response can make the difference. Please consider either:

  • speaking directly with the student, or
  • consulting with another network resource for referral

Choosing a pathway 

If you have a relationship with a student (even the smallest degree of rapport) and notice signs of distress, your best option may be to talk with him or her directly. Begin the conversation by expressing your concern. (See “speak directly with the student.")

If you do not really know the student (e.g., student is in your large lecture class, is a resident in your building, but not on your floor), but notice signs of distress or are aware of a pattern of concerning behavior, it may be more comfortable or effective to contact a network resource who might be “closer” to the student.

Your decision may also be influenced by:

  • your level of experience
  • the nature or severity of the problem 
  • your ability to give time to the situation 
  • a variety of other personal factors

In any given situation, there are likely to be several "right ways" to reach out in a caring manner. The only real risk is in doing nothing.