Talk to a Student About Your Concerns

University of Wisconsin – Madison is a community that cares. Students in crisis or who are exhibiting concerning or worrying behaviors often need additional attention in order to ensure they are safe, the community is safe, and that they can continue to be successful while at UW-Madison. The Dean of Students Office recognizes that most faculty and staff are not counselors, psychiatrists or law enforcement officers. Instead faculty and staff should have the skills and knowledge to respond to students appropriately and make referrals.

Responding to a Concerning Email

University Health Services has recommendations on how to respond to a student email that indicates that student may be struggling with a mental health concern. Their webpage includes advice and email examples for different situations.


While not all students of concern or even those in distress are suicidal, it is important for you to recognize warning signs, know how to respond to a student you believe may be contemplating suicide, and be aware of resources. University Health Services has created the Umatter initiative with the goal of preventing student suicides. Umatter has  information about suicide prevention, campus and community resources, and specific advice for faculty and staff.

Responding to Specific Behavior

Different behavior requires different ways to approach a student. Find information about certain types of behavior, how to talk to the student, and advice on what not to do.

Still Not Sure?

If you aren’t sure how to respond to a student, feel free to consult with the Dean of Students Office. A drop-in staff member is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4 pm during Fall and Spring semester. Call us at 608-263-5700.