Responding to Student Emergencies

Emergency situations are rare, however when they do occur, immediate and decisive action is necessary. Generally, a psychological emergency involves one or more of the following conditions:

  • A suicidal attempt, gesture, or stated intention
  • Behavior posing a threat to self
  • Behavior posing a threat to others
  • Loss of contact with reality
  • Inability to care for oneself

In the event of one of these emergency situation, it is helpful to follow the guidelines below:

  • Stay calm, as this will help you respond more effectively, and also help to reduce the student's anxiety or agitation.
  • If possible, provide a quiet, private place for the student to rest while further steps are taken.
  • Talk to the student in a clear, straightforward manner.
  • If the student appears to be dangerous to self or others, do not leave the student unattended.

Make arrangements for appropriate intervention or aid.

  • Emergency Services 9-911: Life-threatening situations or if there is imminent danger to people or property
  • Madison College Public Safety Office (24 hour service ) (608) 243-4357: Crisis intervention - Potentially threatening situations
  • If you call 9-911, also call security
  • Counseling (608) 246-6076: People experiencing emotional distress (angry, anxious, upset, suicidal, etc.). Consultation for concerns about students or difficult interactions with them.

Options available to you in responding to mental health or drug and alcohol abuse emergencies on campus:

  • Phone consultation with a counseling professional is available at Counseling Services (246-6076)
  • You can walk the student over to Counseling (Room 159aa) or the Drug and Alcohol Program (Room 159aa) for an emergency consultation; however, call (246-6076) or inform the receptionist in advance of contacting particular counselors.
  • If the student is unusually aggressive or otherwise unmanageable, campus security is available to offer assistance

Be prepared to provide the campus resource you contact with as much information as possible about the student and the situation.