Therapeutic Assistance

Topics in this section


Passive Referrals

This is where you urge your friend to get some professional assistance, and you can assist them to do so. You could for example:

  • help them arrange an appointment with a doctor, counsellor or other health professional
  • do some research on the issue and provide them with some information, e.g. you might find them a support group for dealing with a friend’s suicide

This is what some tertiary students have done:

“spoke to a seriously underweight friend about getting help for an eating disorder”


“implored them to visit a doctor and to talk the fatigue and body issues through with the GP who would probably have better ideas of how to properly treat the issues”


“suggesting to change medication. See GP more often”


“passed on some brochures which I acquired about help that is in the community for people who are in her situation”


Active Referrals

This is where you make contact with someone that can help your friend, particularly when it is serious and you are out of your depth. This could include the following:

  • a general practitioner
  • a mental health crisis intervention team
  • a counselling service
  • college principal/director
  • parents, partners, significant others

This is what some tertiary students have done in the past:

“I wrote to the counsellor about one student….., so that something could be done about it. I tried to talk to the student about it, but the student was not really … responsive”


“I emailed the uni mental health unit and got them to step in as the problem was too big for me alone”


“contacted people at the university who could provide support/counselling and also the principal at the college which my suicidal friend was at”