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Midshipmen Development Center

How to Help

How to provide assistance to a mildly/moderately troubled student

For these behaviors or problems you can choose to handle them in the following ways:

  • Deal directly with the behavior/problem according to classroom or Company protocol.
  • Address the situation on a more personal level.
  • Consult with a colleague
  • Refer the student to the MDC or BN Chaplain

Guidelines for talking with a student in distress

If a student wants to talk:

  • Accept and respect what is said.
  • Help determine what needs to be done or changed.
  • Try to focus on an aspect of the problem that is manageable.
  • Avoid giving advice, judging, evaluating, and criticizing.
  • Avoid easy answers such as, "Everything will be all right."
  • Help identify resources needed to improve things.
  • Help the person recall constructive methods used in the past to cope; get the person to agree to do something constructive to change things.
  • Offer yourself as a caring person until professional assistance has been obtained.
  • Trust your insight and reactions.
  • Let others know your concerns.
  • Attempt to address the person's needs and seek appropriate resources.
  • Avoid contributing unnecessarily to the person's guilt or sense of failure.
  • Do not swear secrecy or offer confidentiality to the person.
  • Encourage the person to seek help.
  • When called for, let the person know you are worried about their safety.
  • If you are concerned the student may be feeling hopeless and thinking about ending their life, ask if she/he is contemplating suicide. It is important to remember that talking about suicide is a cry for help and is not to be ignored.
  • Dispel myths about seeking help, such as "I will be seen as weak" or "It will ruin my military career."

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