Help a Friend or PeerCounseling Services
Many students struggle with emotional distress or depression and may try to hide it from those closest to them. MCPHS Counseling Services brings this to your attention because we want you to be ready to assist and refer your peers. It is essential to recognize signs and symptoms of high emotional distress that warrant immediate care and support.
Depression has many warning signs, including:
- Sadness or anxiety
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, or hopelessness
- Changes in appetite or sleep pattern
- Withdrawal from friends and social activities
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Increased anger or irritability
Signs of emotional distress
Please note these include all the signs listed above and the following:
- Not attending classes and missing tests
- Chronic fatigue, lack of energy, or frequently falling asleep at inappropriate times
- Marked change in personal hygiene
- Impaired speech or confused, disjointed thoughts
- Excessive anger or threats to harm others
- Significant irritability, aggressive behavior
- Dramatic weight loss or weight gain
- Normal emotions that are displayed to an extreme degree or for a prolonged period (e.g., fearfulness, tearfulness, nervousness)
Signs of potential suicide include:
- Talking about harming oneself
- Speaking about “wanting out” or “ending it all,” even in passing
- Taking unnecessary or life-threatening risks
- Giving away personal possessions
- A sudden apparent improvement in mood or outlook without cause/reason
How to Help
You have reason to be concerned if you notice any of the above warning signs. There are ways that you can be helpful:
- Express your concerns. For example: “You seem down lately. Is something bothering you?”
- Ask directly about thoughts of suicide: “Have you thought of hurting yourself?”
If your friend/peer has suicidal thoughts, it is crucial to contact MCPHS Counseling Services on your campus immediately.
Boston: During regular business hours (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), come to our office at 3rd floor Fennel or call us at 617.732.2837. Outside regular business hours, call 617.732.2837 and press 9 to be directly connected to the after-hours counselor.
Worcester: During regular business hours (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), come to our office at 40 Foster Street, 1st floor, or call 508.373.5718. Outside regular business hours, call 508.373.5718 and press 9 to be directly connected to the after-hours counselor.
Manchester, NH: During regular business hours (M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.), come to our office at 1260 Elm Street, room 118D on the lower level, or call 603.314.1781. Outside regular business hours, call 603.314.1781 and press 9 to be directly connected to the after-hours counselor.
Other ways you can help include:
- Residence Life staff (Boston/Worcester) are available to assist you via Public Safety. Let them know why you need help.
- Listen and offer emotional support, understanding, and patience. Convey the message that depression is real, common, and that help is available.
- Offer to accompany your friend/peer to see a counselor at the MCPHS Counseling Services or in calling the Counselor on Call via Public Safety.
- If unsure what to do, feel free to consult with the Counseling Services staff at the numbers above.
Above all, be supportive and as nonjudgmental as possible. As part of the MCPHS Community, we must be attentive and responsive to those around us. You can help.