Helping Students in Difficulty

Graphic of McGill's flag with martlets flying around itThe Helping Students in Difficulty Folder

This resource, created by The Office of the Dean of Students, is your guide for what to do and who to contact in emergencies, crises, and worrisome or difficult situations.

PDF icon Helping Students in Difficulty

Tips for talking to a student 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
  • State your understanding of their concerns and feelings
  • Develop a concrete action path
  • If needed, facilitate an introduction to an appropriate resource

Emergency Contacts

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

The Office of the Dean of Students

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.

What does the Office of the Dean of Students do in an emergency?

In emergencies, the Office of the Dean of Students:

  • Gathers and verifies relevant information, ensuring accuracy. Verifies student's 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.


Contact the Office of the Dean of Students
deanofstudents [at]


Other Emergency Contacts

If you are unsure of how to proceed, or are concerned for the safety of the student or others, contact security services first.

The Case Manager, Office of the Dean of Students is the contact for any issue regarding student well-being.

The Executive Director of Student Services mobilizes specific resources to address the identified needs of a student in distress.

Contact Security Services
Downtown: 514-398-3000
Macdonald: 514-398-7777

Contact the Case Manager
or 514-398-4990

Contact Executive Director,
Student Services


McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous Peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we are located. For information about some of the Indigenous initiatives at McGill please visit the website for the Office of Indigenous Initiatives


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