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Counseling Center

Humphreys 131
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4060
Hours: 8 AM-12PM, 1PM-5PM
Summer: M-TH 7:30AM-12PM,1PM-4:30PM


Helping a Distressed Friend

Signs that a friend may be in distress include:

  • S/he is missing a lot of classes or assignments.
  • S/he seems depressed.
  • S/he seems to have become irritable, restless, or moody.
  • S/he is not participating in social activities like he/she used to.
  • S/he is behaving in a way that is bizarre or dangerous.
  • S/he seems to have difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • S/he seems to be worrying a lot more than usual.
  • Her/his appearance becomes disheveled.


Consider: “Why are you concerned?

  • Is your friend an immediate danger to themselves or others? (call 911)
  • Is the problem behavior undermining your friend’s success in life?
  • Is their behavior causing you inconvenience? (e.g. your friend comes home drunk and disrupting your sleep or studying)
  • It’s important to be honest with yourself about why you are concerned.


What you can do

  • Consider why you might want to be involved
  • Consider how much you are willing to be involved.
  • Be prepared that your friend may not be ready to hear you or accept your help.
  • Sometimes, what you see as a possible problem may not be apparent to them.
  • If the friend perceives you as being judgmental, they may reject your concerns
  • On the other hand, sometimes just showing your concern can help a friend feel better.


If you decide to approach a friend

  • See the friend privately, to lessen the chance of embarrassment or defensiveness.
  • Openly acknowledge your concern.
  • Describe clearly what you observe that leads you to think your friend may be having difficulties. Be honest, specific, and non-judgmental.
  • Listen carefully to what seems to be troubling your friend
  • Try to see things from his/her point of view without agreeing or disagreeing.
  • Help your friend think of ways s/he want to deal with the problem.
  • Refer to professional help when appropriate.
  • Your role is to help your friend address the concern, not solve the problem for them