FAQ

You say you are a "confidential" resource. But what does it mean?

Confidentiality means that we will not share any information nor take any action about the conversation you have with us without your permission, except in the unusual situation of imminent risk of harm to self or others. It also means that we will do our best to provide an environment in which you feel comfortable sharing information with us. For this reason, REFS will also bring you out for coffee or snacks (on us!) if you feel better sharing information in the context of a cafe or another informal place.

Are my issues too small/too big/too complicated to go to the DMSE REFs? 

No! DMSE REFS are here to help you through any possible cause of stress, big or small. Common problems brought to the REFS' attention include stress about classes, conflictual situations between classmates, labmates or faculty members and students. You can also come to us if you plan on leaving the institute for a prolongated period of time due to health or family issues. Those are examples but we can help with many other problems, so do not hesitate to contact us. Always feel free to reach out to us!

How does it work to meet with a REF?

First, you will need to contact us through dmserefs@mit.edu or directly through our personal email adresses listed on People. The REF will then arrange an in-person meeting with you in the location of your choice, where you feel comfortable sharing your experience. The REF will also take you out for coffee and snacks if you want to, as we believe it provides a good informal setting where most people feel more comfortable.

During the meeting, the REF will listen to your concerns and ask questions to try to understand your situation better. He or she will not attempt to solve your problem or tell you what to do. Rather, through discussing the issue, he or she will try to clarify your options and help you choose among them.

If the problem is especially difficult or intractable, he or she may suggest other resources on campus that might be able to help you, such as the Ombuds Office, the Office of Graduate Education, or MIT Mental Health and Counseling.

How do I become a REF?

We are absolutely excited to have more students join us as REFS! To become a REF, you must

  • Be enthusiastic about student mental health and well-being.
  • Attend a 40 hour training course through¬†Conflict Management@MIT
  • Spend at least 5 hours a month planning events and attending REFS meeting

Please contact us at dmserefs@mit.edu anytime in the year if you are interested.