Crisis Intervention

What to do in a Crisis or Emergency Situation?

In an Emergency or if you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or others (regardless of time of day), immediately call URPD at 804-289-8911

  • If you (or a student you are concerned about) are experiencing acute intoxication or drug/medication overdose or other physical injury, this is a medical emergency that requires medical care, call URPD at 804-289-8911 or 911 ASAP for medical transport.
  • If you are not in imminent danger but in an urgent need of crisis support, you have several options:
    • During business hours (M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm) you can call CAPS and the front desk staff will conduct a brief screening to assess your needs and determine whether you need to speak to a counselor immediately, could wait for an appointment time later in the day, or an appointment at a later date.
      • IMPORTANT: Since e-mails may not be checked regularly, please do NOT use e-mail to convey emergency information
    • Students can call CAPS at 804-289-8119 to connect with the CAPS after-hours phone service, Fonemed. A registered nurse will assess your mental health concerns and direct you to the most appropriate care.
    • Contact your RA or Area Coordinator for support
    • Call National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-784-2433
    • Send a text to the CRISIS TEXTLINE at 741-741
    • You may also seek help from a local hospital – St. Mary’s Hospital
    • Utilize other hot and warm lines (see left side panel)
    • Contact a close friend and/or loved one for support for the night until you are able to connect with CAPS during business hours.
    • If you have been sexually assaulted and/or need to talk to a Center for Awareness, Response, and Education (C.A.R.E) Advocate or Peer Sexual Misconduct Advisor (PSMA):

Examples of Crisis/Emergency May Include

  • A student is having suicidal or homicidal thoughts and is worried they are unable to keep themselves or others physically safe
  • A student states they are hearing voices or seeing things that others are not hearing or seeing

Concerns Regarding a Student (other than the caller)

CAPS does not reach out to students who have not visited CAPS before as we believe in the student’s right to pursue services willingly and on their accord. However, there are ways in which you can talk to the student to encourage reaching out for help, if needed:

  • State what you observe or have heard - “I notice you haven’t been going to class and spending a lot of time in your room – how have you been feeling?”
  • State your concern and willingness to help - “I’m worried about you and want to support you in getting help.”
  • Offer resources - “CAPS is open, do you want me to sit with you as you call?” or “Let’s look at CAPS website together and see what resources might be helpful.”
  • It is also important that you are respectful of the student’s wishes and, unless you are worried about their safety, respecting their privacy and letting them know you are there for them, if needed.

If you are concerned about a student and would like someone to check in with them, please visit this page for further information about identifying risk and who to contact.

Other Distressing Experiences

If you (or a student you are concerned about) are experiencing significant distress but are not imminently at risk of self-harm, suicidal behaviors, or thoughts of harming others, here are a few options:

  1. CAPS has non-urgent appointments available every day, Monday – Friday. Click here to learn how to get started. CAPS services can always be pursued, if needed, but might not necessarily meet criteria for a same-day crisis appointment.
  2. There are steps you can take to reduce distress in the moment, please check out our resources for common struggles students face with tips for managing:
    • Anxiety/Panic Attack
    • Death of a close friend and/or loved one
    • Distressing Relationship Issues (break-up, roommate issues, family concerns, etc.)
    • Intense Situational Stress and/or Emotional Experience
      • Examples could include failing an exam, rejection from job or internship opportunity, not receiving a bid from the Greek organization you wanted, etc. - there are so many situations that could understandably cause distressing emotional experiences and/or increased stress. Consider trying one of the following:
    • Take some long, slow deep breaths – inhale to the count of 4, hold for the count of 7, and exhale for the count of 8 – this helps to regulate breathing and calm the body and mind
    • Check out the Well-Being Seminars recordings for in the moment skills training or attend a live Well-Being Seminar, offered daily.
    • Reach out to a friend or loved one for support
    • Helpful TAO Self-Help Pathways: Let Go and Be Well, Calm Your Worries (Student)
    • If you continue to experience distress across various situations or find it difficult to let go of stressful situations, consider joining on of CAPS Programs to learn ways to manage stress and anxiety more effectively!