Free, Confidential Consultation

Concerned about your own or someone else's substance use? Schedule a consultation with Caroline Eichmann at the Counseling Center (781) 736-3730.


If you have a life threatening emergency, call Brandeis University Police at 781-736-3333.

Psychological Counseling Center

To reach the Brandeis Counseling Center, call (781) 736-3730 or visit the Brandeis Counseling Center website.

How To Help A Friend


What can I do?

Addressing a friend about their alcohol or drug use can be complicated.  Know that you do not have to have all the answers or handle a situation alone.  There are plenty of resources and trained professionals on campus.  While you may feel it is your responsibility to bring attention to the situation, ultimately, it is the user's choice to help him or herself.  Once that decision to get help is made, show your support.

If the person is open to receiving help, you can refer them to the Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the Health Center for a free confidential assessment or to the Psychological Counseling Center (PCC).

If you know a student who exhibits any of the signs of substance abuse, you can help by doing the following:

  • Address the substance use issue if the student is open and willing.
  • Talk to student when she/he is sober.
  • Choose a private place.
  • Plan what you will say and have resources available.
  • Let the person know that you care about them. 
    • Example: "We've been friends a long time and I care about you. This isn't easy to talk about..."
  • Avoid labeling the student.
    • Example: " You've been blacking out — I think you're an alcoholic".
    • Instead: "I am worried that you have been blacking out. Does this worry you?"
  • Avoid judging.
    • Example: "You've got a big problem and everyone is mad at you."
    • Instead: "We are concerned that your drinking is interfering with your goals. What do you think?"
  • Try to stay objective and list your observations of changes in behavior related to use (low grades, arguments, legal). 
    • Example: "I've noticed you don't go to class anymore."
  • Expect denial.  Accepting that you’ve developed a dependency on a substance can be humiliating and shameful.  So do what you can to reassure his or her dignity.  Dependency is only one obstacle to overcome and there are many great things that make this person a valuable human being.
  • If the person denies behavior that is negatively affecting you, set limits.
    • Example: "You drove my car high a number of times, you an no longer borrow my car."
    • Example: "I can not go out drinking with you anymore when you act like that."
  • Offer resources.  If they are hesitant, offer to accompany them to see the counselor or help them to enlist a friend to go with them.
  • If the person's behavior is negatively affecting you (verbal/physical/emotional), seek professional help for yourself. Talk with your CA, CDC, a professional counselor or other community member.
  • If the student engages in help, consider maintaining contact with them and checking in periodically.