Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention is immediate. During counseling center hours, call 580-559-5714 or go immediately to Room 137, Memorial Student Union Building. MAKE IT CLEAR THAT YOU ARE IN CRISIS. Every effort will be made to respond to you immediately.

If the crisis is on the week-end, a holiday, or after the counseling center's regularly scheduled hours, call the ECU Police Department @ 580-332-3875.

A student who is experiencing a psychological or emotional crisis often needs immediate help and intervention. Examples of serious crises are:

  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts or impulses
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Hearing voices
  • Overwhelming loss, such as a death

Tips for Recognizing a Student in Distress

Most college students cope successfully with the stress they encounter during university life. However, for some students, the pressures become overwhelming and unmanageable. Faculty and staff are in a unique position to identify and help students in distress. Students in distress may seek out individuals who they view are caring and trustworthy. An important factor in saving a student's academic career or even his life may be your expression of interest and concern. How do you identify a student who is in distress?

Change in Academic Performance

  • Poor Performance
  • Excessive absences
  • Avoiding participation
  • Dominating Discussions
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Repeated requests for special consideration
  • Exaggerated emotional responses
  • Excessively anxious

Unusual Behavior or Appearance

  • Depressed or lethargic
  • Hyperactive/Rapid speech
  • Deterioration in hygiene
  • Observable signs of injury
  • Strange/bizarre behavior

References to Stressors

  • Relationship problems
  • Death of significant person
  • Legal difficulties
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Experiencing discrimination

References to Suicide, Death, Homicide

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Verbal or written references to suicide
  • Verbal or written references to homicide
  • Isolation from friends or family

What Can You Do for the Distressed Student?

If a student reaches out to you for help or if you decide to approach the student, here are suggestions.

Talk to the student in private. Choose a time when neither of you will be rushed for time. Give the student your undivided attention. If you initiated the contact, express your concern in a caring, non-judgmental manner.

Listen to the student's thoughts/feelings. Be sensitive and non-threatening. Show the student that you are listening by repeating the content and feelings back to the student. Let the student talk.

Give hope. Sometimes a student just needs to hear that things are going to get better. If possible, suggest resources such as the ECU Student Counseling Center, family, friends, or clergy. Also, assist the student in accessing other services offered by ECU, such as Health Services, the Writing Center, their academic advisor, housing and residential life staff, or the central Student Development office. It is not your purpose to solve the student's problems but to give hope that there are options available.

Avoid judging. Judgment and criticism may only push the student away. Respect the student even if you do not agree with them.

Maintain boundaries. Maintain a professional faculty/student relationship. A student in distress may not understand professional boundaries and may attempt to blur those boundaries.

Refer. Let the student know that help is available at the ECU Student Counseling Center, @ 559-5714. The Center is located in Room 137, Memorial Student Union Building (next door to the Nurse's Office). The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Counseling services are to free to all ECU students.

If you feel the student is in imminent danger, call the ECU Police @ 332-3875