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Recognizing a Need for Help

Apr 16, 2019 | by timelymd

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Written by:
Dr. Jan
Janice A. Hall Ph.D.
Director of Mental Health/TimelyMD

Recognizing when a peer is struggling with anxiety or depression is sometimes difficult. Fellow students, classmates, dorm residents, the person who sits next to you in church or your service/social club, plays athletics with you or sits by themselves in your dining area may struggle with worry, depression, loneliness and even thoughts of death or suicide.

Some common signs that might suggest a peer’s need for help include when they:

  • Make comments about wanting to die, kill themselves or someone else, or death in general
  • Do not see solutions to their problems/feel trapped
  • Isolate/withdraw from friends, family or groups
  • Express hopelessness
  • Say that there is no purpose or reason to live
  • Start collecting pills, weapons or ropes
  • Increase consumption of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Express intense physical or emotional pain
  • Experience mood changes such as bouts of crying, agitation, anger
  • Take risks that put them in harm’s way, such as driving recklessly or are out late in unsafe places
  • Start saying goodbye to people at inappropriate times
  • Have major sleep issues (beyond the college norm)
  • Give away personal items of importance to them or get affairs in order

Getting Help – Connect, Ask, Stay
There are ways that you can help your friends, family or peers in need. First, connect with the person. Ask how they are doing. Specifically, ask if the person is having any thoughts of hurting or killing themselves or anyone else. All of the above signs are common in people with suicidal ideation. Asking shows concern; asking does not appear to increase suicidal thoughts. Do not promise to keep suicidal thoughts a secret. Let them know you want to assist them in getting help. Stay with them until you get them to help if you are with someone who is talking about killing themselves.

For campus resources, find the numbers below for your university:
Campus Police 24 hr #
TimelyMD (24 hours): Login at or call 833-484-6359
Campus Counseling Center
Psychology Clinic
Marriage & Family Institute
Title IX Office for Sexual Violence
Dorm Supervisor/Housing Director

If a person is in moderate distress and not having thoughts of killing themselves or someone else, support them while they get help. For example, have them call the campus counseling center or login to TimelyMD (24 hours) or another campus resource for an appointment.

Besides professional support, if the person has another friend, family member, church member/pastor, dorm supervisor, faculty or staff that seems supportive to them, suggest they contact that person.

When a person is in distress, they need a sense of connection, support and belonging. See the powerful video below, “You Belong,” by Mental Health of America Texas.

Follow up
Following up may include walking with your friend to their appointment at the counseling center, making a time to meet for a coffee/snack or meal, meeting after class, inviting them to a social or church gathering or calling them to see how life is going. If you ask how they are doing, it’s important to be ready to listen. When someone is down, ask about what is going well. Recognizing even small positive happenings is helpful!

Mental Health of America Texas. You Belong. Video developed under Contract No. 2012-039469-001 for Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to Mental Health America of Texas (MAAT).

Texas Suicide Prevention Council (2019). ASK? Ask About Suicide to Save a Life.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (2018). Suicide in America: Frequently Asked Questions (NIH Publication No. 18-6389). Retrieved from http//

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Healthier students build stronger campus communities.

Jan 10, 2018 | by timelymd

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Healthier students build stronger campus communities.

The physical and mental health of your student population impacts the strength of the university as a whole. Thoughtful telehealth solutions can help you improve student health, optimize campus resources and concretely demonstrate caring for the needs of students and families.

Around-the-clock access to quality healthcare gives both students and parents valuable peace of mind. When students are supported and empowered by telemedicine, colleges see:

  • Better overall health. Untreated illness can spread disease, fuel campus epidemics and promote the overuse of over-the-counter medications.
  • Reduced absenteeism. Illness can hinder student achievement and grade performance, leading schools to loss of reputation, or even accreditation.
  • More extracurricular participation. When students aren’t healthy, they can’t take on additional activities that create a vibrant, attractive campus life.
  • Optimized campus clinics. Seamless integration, accurate triage and after hours support lets clinics focus on the right cases, so students who need appointments get in quickly.
  • Stronger community. Thoughtful telehealth programs offer a new communications channel between school and student — one focused on good health and positive health routines
  • Happy Parents and Students. Convenient, 24/7 access gives parents confidence that students will get the healthcare they need when they need it.

Explore TimelyMD solutions for higher education.

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