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General Description
Requirements
Overview of Steps
Detailed Steps
Subject Experts
Psychological Emergencies
Procedure

Document Number: EMER--118p Revision #: 1.0
Document Owner: Executive VP Date Last Updated: 07/11/2013
Primary Author: Executive Director of Facilities and Safety Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 02/13/2012

General Description
Description / Scope:

Information about psychological emergencies relative to emergency services policies and procedures.


Purpose:

Delineation of procedures.


Who Performs / Responsibility: All faculty, staff, students, and administrators
Counseling Services

When to Perform: As needed

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Requirements
Pre-Knowledge: Before performing this task you must know:
Current University policy
Standards of good practice

Terms and Definitions: Additional training

Corrective Action

Equipment: Policy and Procedure Handbook

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Overview of Steps
1.

Psychological Emergencies

2.

When to Refer Someone to the Counseling Center (non-crisis)

3.

Some Warning Signs of Suicide

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Detailed Steps
1.

Psychological Emergencies


How to Do:

For any behavior posing an imminent threat to the person him/herself, behaviors that are threatening to others, behaviors involving weapons, or other intimidating behaviors immediately call 911. Clearly state your name and your exact location on campus. Then call Campus Security to notify them of the situation. Regardless of what time of day or night a crisis occurs, if a student is imminently suicidal and/or homicidal, 911 should be called immediately. The student should be transported by ambulance or police car to the Emergency Room to be assessed for hospitalization. Employees of Cumberland University should never transport a suicidal or homicidal student.

 

During office hours, individuals may call the Counseling Center and ask to schedule a crisis appointment. If no one is available and it is an urgent situation but does not pose an imminent threat to anyone, individuals should call Campus Security for help. If Campus Security is contacted, they will then contact the CUCC Director or Wilson County Mobile Crisis.


1.1

While You Are Waiting for Help to Arrive


How to Do:

· Offer a quiet place for the individual to talk if possible.

· Listen to the individual, while maintaining a straight-forward, considerate, and helpful attitude.

· Do not leave the individual alone unless you feel concerned for your safety.

· Avoid escalating the situation, speak calmly and with concern. Avoid physical contact.

· If the student poses a danger to you or others, do not attempt to keep the student from leaving the classroom or your office.


1.2

Signs of Distress or Disturbance


How to Do:

It is important to note that any single symptom by itself may not indicate the presence of unmanageable stress. Look for combinations of symptoms and overall patterns.

· A person seems excessively tired, anxious, depressed, irritable, angry, or sad.

· You notice marked changes in an individual's appearance or habits (e.g., deterioration in grooming, hygiene, marked change in weight, hyperactivity or exhaustion, interpersonal withdrawal, acceleration in activity or speech, or change in academic/work performance and classroom participation and/or attendance).

· A person seems hopeless or helpless.

· Use of alcohol or other substances interferes with the individual’s relationships or work.

· Report of sexual or physical assault or the recent death of a family member or friend.

· Emotional over-reaction such as spells of crying, outbursts of anger, over-sensitivity.

· Excessive ruminations or worry.

· Impaired speech and disjointed thoughts.

· Thoughts or actions that appear bizarre or unusual.

· Physical complaints of unknown origin (e.g., headaches, skeletal pain, frequent illness).

· Inability to concentrate or focus, persistent memory lapses, restlessness.

· Self-mutilating behaviors, including cutting or burning of self.

· Expressed suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

 


1.3

Tips for Dealing with Distressed People


How to Do:

· If there is no immediate threat, speak with the person privately. Please do not promise confidentiality because you may find that you need to refer or consult with others regarding the student. Document your conversations.

· Offer a quiet place for the individual to talk.

· Inform the person of your concern in a direct, matter-of-fact manner. Be specific regarding the behaviors you have observed.

· Listen carefully to the person's concerns and be sensitive to those that might underlie the present problem (issues that are unstated, brushed aside, or intimated).

· Explore the person's previous attempts at resolution, such as what resources have been utilized and what persons or agencies have been contacted. Ask about the outcome of such action.

· Suggest that the person consider personal counseling. Be honest and direct about your limitations.

· Contact the Counseling Center (547-1397) for consultation and assistance in responding to the individual if the matter is not urgent.

· Propose the referral in a direct and positive manner. Encourage the person to come to the Counseling Center or to call for an appointment. Except when in crisis, the individual should be allowed the option of declining a referral for counseling.

 


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2.

When to Refer Someone to the Counseling Center (non-crisis)


How to Do:

Consider referring if you notice any signs of distress and

· If you find yourself doing more personal counseling than academic advising with a student.

· If you feel that you are unable to deal effectively with the person's issues.

· If you and/or the person are uncomfortable in dealing with the problem.

· If you are concerned about suicidal risk or threat of harm.


3.

Some Warning Signs of Suicide


How to Do:

· Suicide threats - direct or indirect

· Previous suicide attempts

· Statements revealing a desire to die

· Prolonged depression

· Feelings of hopelessness

· Making final arrangements

· Giving away prized possessions

· Alcohol and drug abuse

· Sudden changes in behavior

· Purchasing and stockpiling pills


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Subject Experts
The following may be consulted for additional information.
Executive VP

Executive Director of Facilities and Safety

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