Published: March 4, 2024

Students walking on campus

If you’re concerned about a friend, knowing when and how to step in and help can feel confusing. You and your friends may not have the same support systems you had when you were younger, like living at home with family. CU Boulder has support systems in place to help students navigate complex situations. 

During your college years, you and your friends can face a multitude of new experiences and challenges. These can range from mental health issues to hospitalizations and family emergencies. Each of these challenges can be unexpected and may negatively impact academic success and overall well-being. 

If you notice a friend acting differently or struggling, know that you can play a part in getting them support. Here are options and resources to help you support your friend. 

Find support for yourself 

You do not have to be the sole support system for your friend. It is OK to take care of yourself and seek support as you decide how to help your friend. Remember, you are not alone, and your needs matter too.  

The Dean of Students office champions students by giving you the agency to succeed and helping you have a positive experience at CU Boulder. Staff in the Dean of Students office can serve as a sounding board as you help a friend. They are here for you to ask questions and get support for you and your friend. The Dean of Students office can help you understand your options and connect you to the most appropriate resources for your situation.

Learn to recognize signs of distress 

If you think your friend needs help, start by observing for signs of distress. These can be changes in behavior related to academic, physical, psychological or safety risk concerns. Some common signs to be aware of are below.