Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my friend needs University Counseling Center (UCC) services?
The University Counseling Center offers a variety of services for a wide range of student concerns. We especially recommend that you encourage your friend to seek their services if you notice any of the symptoms of distress, particularly if they occur on a repeated basis within a short period of time.
How do I refer my friend to seek help from the University Counseling Center (UCC)?
Encourage your friend to call the University Counseling Center (701.777.2127) between 8:00am and 4:30pm to schedule an appointment or they can come on a walk-in basis during those same hours. Students who indicate they are in crisis will be seen by a counselor that day.
If you have an emergency after our normal weekday business hours or on the weekend, please call FIRSTLINK, (701.777.2127) and press "1" to be connected to the crisis line. FIRSTLINK will provide you with information, support, referrals, and, if needed, will transfer your call to the University Counseling Center professional staff member on call that can provide emergency consultation.
If FIRSTLINK is unavailable and the student talks about suicide, please contact the University Police Department (701.777.3491) for a welfare check. For any other emergency situation, please call (911) or proceed to the emergency room.
How do I talk to my friend about getting the help they need?
- Let the student know why you are concerned about them in terms of the student's own worries or needs.
"I often hear you mention your worries about X, and I think that's something you are right to be concerned about."
"It seems from our recent conversations that this is something you really need to talk about."
"When you mention that you are thinking of suicide, I know it concerns you and it concerns me, too."
- Let the student know what they will gain from meeting with a counselor.
"I think you will find it very helpful to discuss all this with someone impartial, someone who can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings."
"This is just the thing to consult with a counselor about - a counselor will know more about this than either one of us."
"You and I just don't have enough time together to address these concerns the way they deserve, and I think you'd get a lot out of talking them over with someone at greater length."
- Avoid labeling the student or their behavior. Labeling, whether accurate or inaccurate, can frighten or discourage a student from getting help. And remember that different parents and cultures have different ways of expressing their distress; what looks strange to you may be "normal" for the other person.
Don't say "You're depressed," or "You have an eating disorder," or "You should be in therapy."
- Reassure the student that making a referral isn't a rejection.
"Even though you will be talking with your counselor about this, I want us to keep in touch about how things are going for you."
"Come back and let me know how your meeting with the counselor goes -- you don't have to tell me details, but I'd like to know that you've found someone helpful to speak with."
- Offer to keep the student company while they call for an appointment, or to call on behalf of the student while they are sitting there with you or walk them over to the University Counseling Center.
- Suggest that the student learn more before making an appointment and refer the student to the University Counseling Center website , which has information about all our services as well as links to helpful web sites on a variety of topics.
- Let the student know what to expect if they talk with a counselor.
"Counselors are here to help all UND students make the most of their university experience - consulting a counselor doesn't mean you are 'crazy' or 'sick.'"
The student can either call or stop by the University Counseling Center to make a first appointment or "intake," which can usually be scheduled within a few days - if it's an urgent situation, the student should say so and they will be seen sooner.
In a first appointment, the student will discuss with the counselor the situation or feelings that are troubling them and what sort of assistance the student might find helpful. The counselor and student will work together to locate and access whatever the student needs, whether that is a brief consultation, ongoing counseling, a specialized treatment program, a support group, psychiatric medication, etc.
All discussions and records at the University Counseling Center are confidential. For more information on the nature and limits of confidentiality, call the University Counseling Center (701.777.2127).
- Follow up with the student. Remember that the student's contact with the University Counseling Center is confidential, so the student's counselor will not be able to give you any information without the student's explicit permission. If you hear that the student's appointment with a counselor wasn't helpful, invite the student to make an appointment with a different counselor, or to bring their concerns to the attention of the Director so a better match can be made.
If FIRSTLINK is unavailable and your student talks about suicide, please contact the University Police Department (701.777.3491) for a welfare check. For any other emergency situation, please call (911) or proceed to the emergency room.
My friend refuses to seek help even though I am convinced he or she needs it. What can I do?
While counseling is a personal decision, sometimes it can be helpful to encourage your friend to talk to a counselor about his or her concerns. It is important to remember that it's ultimately your friend's decision to seek help, but the following strategies might help persuade an ambivalent student to consider counseling:
- Inform your friend that information shared during counseling is confidential to the extent permitted by state law and will not be disclosed without written permission.
- Remind your friend that he or she can meet with a counselor for one session without committing to ongoing counseling.
- Reduce the stigma associated with counseling. Tell your friend that our counseling services are regularly used by many students for a variety of concerns and that utilizing counseling services reflects good use of one's resources. Just as it is common to visit a doctor when one has a medical problem, there should be no shame in meeting with a counselor to discuss a personal issue or concern.
- Suggest that your friend visit the University Counseling Center's website to become familiar with our services. Encourage your friend to try our Anonymous Self-Assessment .
There still might be a possibility that you might have exhausted all means to influence your friend's decision, and he or she still does not want to go to the University Counseling Center. As difficult as this might sound, acceptance of your friend's choice might be your next step. In other words, the final choice is up to them and it is, unfortunately, outside of your control.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your role as a friend, then consider seeking help for your own mental and emotional wellness. This could validate to your friend that it's ok to talk to someone about your personal issues and will also decrease the stigma of counseling as well.
Will counseling become part of my friend’s academic record?
No. Our records are confidential and are entirely separate from your friend's academic records.
Who can I talk to if I think my friend may be missing?
Please contact the Dean of Students Office (701.777.2664) during normal business hours. If it is after business hours, please contact the University Police Department (701.777.3491).
Whom should I contact if I have questions or feedback?
Please contact the University Counseling Center directly (701.777.2127), if you have any questions or feedback about our services.