MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY
There are a few situations that require an immediate response when a student is experiencing a mental health crisis:
- When a student is in significant emotional distress and his/her ability to function is seriously impaired.
- When a student poses a threat to him/herself or others.
- When a student makes overtly suicidal comments; e.g. Referring to suicide as a current option or has a plan and the means to carry out the plan.
- When a student is experiencing impaired speech or garbled, disjointed thoughts, bizarre or strange behavior that is obviously inappropriate to the situation; e.g. Talking to “invisible people” or exhibiting paranoid thinking.
PLEASE CONTACT PUBLIC SAFETY IMMEDIATELY AT 610.796.8350 WHEN A STUDENT OR VISITOR DEMONSTRATES:
- High levels of irritability, including unruly, aggressive, or violent behavior.
- A serious and imminent threat of harm to themselves, others or property
During Office Hours:
Please contact the Health & Wellness Center if a crisis occurs during office hours at 610.568.1467. Our staff will work to determine the best course of action for the student’s needs.
When the office is closed, please call Public Safety at 610.796.8350.
Is it an emergency?
Signs and Symptoms of a Student in Distress but Not in Any Immediate Danger:
Changes in Mood
- Excessive giddiness/”manic”
Changes in Behavior
- Missing Class
- Not completing classwork
- Loss of motivation
- Bizarre, unusual, inappropriate behavior
- Speech or thoughts that are confusing, hard to follow
- Sleeping more or less
Changes in Social Relationships
- Isolating\withdrawing from others
- Over dependent on others, clingy, draining
- Excessive partying, social life interfering with other areas of life
- Talking to family less or more
- Not responding to texts/social media
- Posting concerning comments on social media
Changes in Personal Appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Dressing differently
- Less interest in appearance or preoccupied with appearance
- Weight loss or gain
Increased Physical Complaints
- Doesn’t feel well
- Stomach/gastrointestinal issues
Increased alcohol/substance use
- Drinking more alone
- Drinking more/excessively with others
- Increased amount or frequency of substance use
- Use of different alcohol/substances
- Never used at all, but now using
*Not all these symptoms need to be present to indicate that a student needs help. Telling the difference between an individual's personality style and symptoms of a problem can be quite difficult. The "symptoms" described above are behaviors that lead to problems for the individual both in and outside the classroom and thus are reasons for concern. If you are unsure as to whether someone's behavior is something to be concerned about, please contact the Health and Wellness Center at 610.568.1467 and we can help you determine if something needs to be done.
Guidelines for Interacting with Students in Distress but Not in Any Immediate Danger:
- Talk privately to the student
- Listen carefully
- Show interest and concern
- Clarify what they are saying by repeating back the essence of what they have told you
- Talk in noncritical, nonjudgmental ways
- Consider the Counseling Center as a resource and discuss a referral with the student
- If the student resists help and you are worried, call the Health and Wellness Center at 610.568.1467 and ask for a counselor to discuss your concerns.
- Involve yourself only as far as you feel comfortable. Extending oneself can be a gratifying experience when kept within realistic limits.
- Use “Report It” to share your concerns and request additional support for a student. Reports are forwarded to the Community Standards Coordinator and Associate Dean of Students. Outreaches are made to the student of concern within 1-2 business days. This type of report should NOT be used in the case of imminent harm to self or others or any other emergency.