Faculty/Staff Page

Tips on how to identify, respond to and refer distressed students.

Signs of a Crisis Situation

These behaviors usually show that a person is in crisis and needs emergency care:

  • Talk of suicide directly or indirectly
  • Highly disruptive behavior (hostility, aggression, etc.)
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing/hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)
  • Inablitiy to meet one's basic needs
  • Homicidal threat

What To Do When Someone Is In Distress

Stay calm, listen attentively, show your support and express your desire to help.

Reassure the individual that help is available.

Ask directly if the person plans to harm him/her self or others

  • If the answer is no
  • Encourage the person to go to Counseling Services
  • Take the additional step of giving them the phone number
  • Let them know that services are free and not tied into their academic records
  • If the answer is yes
  • During business hours, offer to walk the peron to Counseling Services for a session with a counselor.  If they refuse, reassure them that you care about them and want to make sure they are safe.  Remember that if they won't seek help and you feel they are a danger to themselves or others, you should call 911 
  • On campus please call (580) 581-2911 Campus Police
  • After business hours (and if the student agrees to seeking help), you may call the Suicide National Hotline 1-800-273-8255.  The student will be able to talk with a mental health professional immediately to assess their situation.

General Signs of Distress

  • Decline in work or academic performance
  • Disruptive or distubing behaviors
  • Changes in appearance, behavior or weight
  • Concerning comments (e-mail, papers, other writings)
  • Observations of sadness, anxiety, anger and/or significant mood change
  • Signs of a drug or alcohol problem
  • Social isolation or other social problems

What NOT To Do When Soneone Is In Distress

  • Do not allow yourself to be sworn to secrecy
  • Do not leave the person alone if you believe there is immiment risk
  • Do not react with shock or disdain
  • Do not try to counsel the person yourself

When To Make A Referral

Even though a student asks you for help with a problem and you are willing to help, there are circumstances when you should suggest other resources:

  • You are not comfortable in handling the situation
  • The help necessary is not your expertise
  • Personality differences may interfere with your ability to help
  • You know the individual personally (friend, neighbor, coworker) and think you may not be objective enough to help
  • The individual is reluctant to discuss the situation with you
  • There is an active crisis

How To Make A Referral

  • Share the limits of your expertise and/or objectivity
  • Let the person know you think he/she could benefit from the help and expertise of a professional
  • Assure him/her that many students seek help over the course of their college careers
  • Try to help the individual know what to expect if he/she follows through on the referral

Consultation is Available

If you have concerns about someone, contact Counseling Services and ask for immediate consultation. Ways consultation can help include:

  • Assessing the seriousness of the situation
  • Suggesting potential resources
  • Finding the best way to make a referral
  • Clarifying your own feelings about the person in distress and the situation
  • Collaboration with other university professionals

Additional Resources

If it is after hours and an emergency:

*Campus Police: please call (580) 581-2911
*Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Emergency Room
3401 W Gore Boulevard
or call (580) 355-8620
*Taliaferro Community Mental Health Center
602 SW 38th St
or call (580) 248-5780

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Contact Information

Student Wellness Center
North Shepler Room 101
2800 W Gore Blvd
Lawton OK  73505
Ph (580) 581-6725
Fax (580) 581-6733
Director Jill Melrose
jmelrose@cameron.edu

Hours

Student Wellness Center
Monday through Friday
8:00am-5:00pm

Medical Services
Monday 1:00pm-4:30pm
Tuesday 8:00am-11:30am
Wednesday 8:00am-11:30am
Thursday 1:00pm-4:30pm
Friday 9:00am-11:30am

Counseling Services
Monday through Friday
by appointment only.
* Crisis clients take precedence.