How to Support a Student: Parent/Guardian/Family Member

Many students share a particularly close relationship and have established rapport with various loved ones. These bonds may serve as the medium through which students communicate their struggles. Thus, a student’s loved ones are often a safe source where a student can vent their frustrations and concerns in a supportive manner. Subsequently, loved ones may become concerned about the Middlebury College student they know.

If this circumstance applies to you, consider the following information:

  • Hold conversations in a private space
  • Listen attentively and give your loved one (the student) room to speak
  • Be supportive and positive
  • Point out specific signs that you have observed that support your concerns
  • Be upfront about concerns regarding suicidality and self-harm, it is important that we don’t beat around the bush with this topic; use words such as “suicide” and “self-harm” when having this discussion
  • Ask your family member what support or help they desire and what they think they need in order to feel better
  • Provide whatever resources or referrals possible
  • Follow-up later and check-in to see how the person you care about is doing

Notifying a student’s Common’s Dean is also an appropriate step if directly speaking to the student does not seem warranted or appropriate. Simply providing the Commons Dean with a heads up regarding your concerns is a step toward creating a system of care around the student whom is displaying concerning behavior.

Health Services
Centeno House
1st & 2nd Floor
Phone: 802-443-5135
Fax: 802-443-2066

Centeno House
3rd Floor
Phone: 802-443-5141
Fax: 802.443.3407

Sports Medicine
Field House
Phone: 802-443-3636
Fax: 802-443-2094