Everyone plays an important role in supporting graduate student mental health and wellbeing.

From time to time a graduate student, or someone worried about a graduate student, may contact you about responding to a student in crisis. A crisis is something such as a serious injury or death, mental breakdown or suicidal comments, a missing person, a serious crime or attack, and the like. People in those situations are usually very concerned and unsure about what to do.

There is a team of people at UBC who are experienced at dealing with graduate students in distress and can help. Every situation is a bit different, but there is a general protocol for grad program staff when concerned about a graduate student in distress. 

A comprehensive guide for assisting students in distress can be found in the Faculty & Staff Resources on the Student Services website. Faculty and staff can use this guide to know what to look for, say, and do. Included in the guide are the following 4 steps to help a graduate student in distress:

Step 1: Observe

Step 2: Reflect

Step 3: Respond

Step 4: Use Early Alert


In a nutshell:

If there is a high risk of harm or you have immediate safety concerns for yourself or others:
  1. First, call Emergency Services: 911
  2. Then, call Campus Security: 604.822.2222
If there is a moderate risk of harm:
  1. First call Counselling Services and request a same-day urgent appointment for the student, and/or request to consult with a counsellor: 604.822.3811
  2. Then, encourage the student to go directly to Counselling Services
If there is a lower risk of harm, connect the student to support:


Unusual or particularly complex graduate student concerns

For questions or concerns about student conduct not addressed on this page, contact:

Brianne Howard
Director, Academic Support, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Contact numbers
  • Emergency: 911
  • Campus Security: 822.2222
  • Counselling Services: 822.3811
  • Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: 822.2848
  • Student Health Services: 822.7011  After hours: 822.7121
  • VP Students Office: 822.7011