Crisis/Emergency Situations

What exactly is a crisis?

  • Suicidal statements or behaviors / attempts
  • Homicidal threats or threats of physical harm, assault
  • Destruction of property
  • Inability to communicate (e.g. speech unclear; thoughts disjointed, nonsensical)
  • Appears to be hallucinating (seeing or hearing things which are not there)
  • Disoriented or bizarre thoughts appearing to be unconnected to reality, rambling speech
  • Extreme panic, such as experienced after a trauma
  • Extremely manic behavior (e.g. unable to sit still with strong pacing, rocking or other intense movement
  • Talking so rapidly it’s hard to follow; usually combined with statements not connected to each other and not making sense, hallucinations, or bizarre thoughts)
  • Being so drunk or high that s/he appears ready to do something dangerous (e.g. walk into traffic, etc.)
  • Statement by the student that s/he needs help immediately

What should I do in case of an emergency, if I don’t think the student can wait for help?

If you have an active medical emergency or believe someone is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately. Calmly explain the nature of the emergency (i.e., I have a student who is behaving in a hostile manner and threatening others, a student just emailed me a suicide note, etc.).

If you have someone threatening to hurt themselves or someone else, and the danger does not seem immediate, talk to the student about your concerns and the need for help. If it is during business hours, you can call the Counseling Center, walk the student to the Center (calling first is preferred, but not necessary), or call the Seattle Crisis Line at 206-461-3222. After hours, call the Crisis Line directly. You can also call the new Safe Campus hotline (685-SAFE) to consult about the appropriate steps to take.

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