Responding to Student Emergencies
The university encourages and supports a staff member’s or professor’s decision to respond to students in distress. Students in distress may display troubling behavior. Such behaviors may include the following:
  • Suicidal gestures, intentions or attempts
  • Other behavior posing a threat to the student (e.g., drug abuse)
  • Threats or aggression directed toward others
  • Demonstrated inability to care for oneself

Campus Resources for Responding to Mental Health Emergencies are:

For consultation with a Counseling and Psychological Services counselor, call 828.227.7469. The center is open Monday through Friday 8:00am-5:00pm. If you have decided to make a referral, please read the next section on “Referring a student for professional help” for details on steps to take.

If the student prefers to talk with a counselor not associated with the university, please refer him or her to the therapist referral listing on the WCU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) webpage, their health insurance benefits coordinator or the CPS case manager for assistance identifying a community resource.  Our staff is also available to provide information on specialized counseling services in the community, and our website,, has ULifeline and many mental health resources, questionnaires, etc.

Counseling and Psychological Services staff is on call for emergency consultations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when school is in session. For after-hours emergency services, please call WCU Police at 828.227.8911, and they will contact the counselor-on-call to consult with you or the student. If the student requires immediate medical attention, hospitalization, or is unmanageable (aggressive, hostile, refusing care), or if you feel directly threatened by a student or feel others are at risk, call WCU police at 828.227.8911. They will provide assistance and transport the student to the appropriate facility.

 What You Can Do

  • Move the student to a quiet and secure place if possible.
  • Enlist the help of a co-worker so that the student isn't left alone and you aren't left alone with the student.
  • Listen attentively and respond in a straightforward and considerate way.
  • When contacting a campus resource, have available as much information as possible, including your name; the student’s name and location; a description of the circumstances and the type of assistance needed; the exact location of the student in the building; and an accurate description of the student.
  • Alert the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible at 828.227.7234.




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