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Helping Students in Difficulty

Formerly known as the "Red Folder", this online resource developed by the Office of the Dean of Students is your guide to helping students who are in difficulty and/or who are exhibiting worrisome behaviour.

[PDF] version is available for you to view and/or print. A web version is provided below.


Helping Students in Difficulty

Students in Distress

Contact numbers and a brief description of the services available to help YOU to help a student who is in personal distress are provided.

If you are dealing with students in difficulty:

  • Establish proper rapport by listening
  • Talk in a private place (unless the student is aggressive)
  • Ask if the student is already connected to a McGill Student Service, and if you may call that service
  • Don’t ask too many questions
  • Be careful not to overstep your boundaries
  • State your understanding of their concerns and feelings
  • Develop a concrete action path

In Case of Emergency

In case of an emergency or a crisis involving McGill students, as individuals or as a group, on campus, or anywhere in the world, the Office of the Dean of Students is the main contact. The Dean of Students works closely with Student Services and Security Services to ensure student safety and well-being on both campuses.

In emergencies, the Office of the Dean of Students

  • Gathers and verifies relevant information, ensuring accuracy. Verifies students’ status and coordinates accordingly.
  • Initiates liaison with appropriate departments and services as needed.
  • Liaises with Residence Directors in cases involving students housed in Residences.
  • Disseminates information to appropriate individuals in the University at large.
  • Informs fellow students and colleagues affected by a crisis about the range of Student Services available to them.
  • Is the University’s point of contact with families.
  • Communicates with the student body in collaboration with senior university administrators.
  • Keeps senior administration informed of developments, as appropriate.

Experienced personnel are available to reach out to the student with a confidential and respectful approach. Early support and intervention is always best.

If in Doubt, Call Security Services First

Campus Telephone
Downtown 514-398-3000
Macdonald 514-398-7777

The Dean of Students is the contact for any issue regarding student well-being. The Executive Director of Services for Students mobilizes specific resources to address identified needs of a student in distress.

Office Telephone
Dean of Students 514-398-4990

Executive Director,
Services for Students

514-398-3825