Help for Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Crisis Emergency Procedure 

Mental Health Crisis Help


  1. Notify Public Safety when a student is on campus and during after hours. 

    Public Safety is available through the University Command Center at 267-341-3333 or the call boxes located in resident halls, buildings and/or the parking lots. For Newtown Campus call: 267-341-4011. Public Safety will contact a Counselor to assist in the emergency or connect the student with emergency mental health services in the area they are located.

    During normal business hours (Mon-Fri from 8am to 4pm), the Counseling Center can typically provide an in-person safety assessment at the center (Campus Center room203). However, sometimes students are not able to be walked over to our center or Counseling Center Staff is not at their desk. In these cases, Public Safety is the quickest way to obtain emergency assistance. Students requesting an emergency appointment at the counseling center are expected to accommodate the time offered for an appointment, missing a class if necessary. When Counseling Staff is unavailable to perform this assessment, the student will need to be referred to local emergency services.
  2. Call 911 or another mental health crisis resource when a student is not on campus.

    If you perceive the emergency to be immediately life-threatening, obtain an outside line and dial 911, giving complete details of the problem, including exact location. Other Emergency Mental Health Crisis services include:

    - Go to the nearest emergency room/crisis response center
    - Contact Mental Health Crisis Services in your area (Mental Health
    - Delegates of Philadelphia at 215-685-6440
    - Call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  3. Contact the CARE Team/Dean of Students

    Let them know that a student was in need of an emergency mental health assistance as they will can further support the student through this process and with their return to campus.

Note: Do not send emergency communication via voicemail or email, as voicemails and emails will not be reviewed in a timely fashion that an emergency warrants, and they are not guaranteed confidential and will not be checked off hours.

If the matter you are calling the center for cannot wait for a return call or email, 911 or Public Safety should be contacted 267-341-3333. Public Safety can contact the Counselor on-call and/or arrange for emergency response via the Mental Health Delegate of Philadelphia at 215-685-6440. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you are unable to provide information to public safety when calling due to the nature of the emergency, please state Codeword Blue and provide your location.

What qualifies as a mental health emergency?

When it comes to mental health concerns, they are serious and many behaviors/symptoms are concerning. When deciding if behaviors/symptoms rise to the level of being a mental health emergency, for which immediate assessment and care is needed, you want to consider whether or not there is reason to be concerned for the immediate safety of the student. Immediate concerns for safety are referred to as “Life Threatening Behaviors.”

Life-threatening behaviors

  1. Immediate Safety Concerns related to Suicide or Homicide (thoughts, plan, or actions to harm self or someone else).
  2. Behavior or Thoughts that you observe or that are reported to you that indicated an immediate concern for the student or others safety.
    • Hearing or seeing things that are not present
    • Having engaged in recent self-injurious behavior where the wound is worrisome/bleeding/health compromising
    • Not making verbal sense or are unable to respond to simple questions
    • Acting very bizarrely o Not able to care for basic needs (i.e. not eating and drinking, not taking care of hygiene, not sleeping) o Mentally confused or disoriented
    • Not aware of day and time, where you are, who you are
    • Act of sexual violence or other trauma has just occurred where the student is asking to speak to a Counselor (we do not want to force those who have been the victim of a trauma to see a Counselor if they are not ready)

**The above warrant immediate attention by a mental health provider. 

What if I am feeling really upset, depressed, or anxious, but it is not an emergency?

There are several things you can do in times of great distress, when it is not a crisis situation or emergency as described above. Some things that you may be able to do immediately to relieve some of your distress include:

  • If appropriate, book a Same Day Emergency Appointment

    Same day session with a counselor for students experiencing high levels of psychological distress, which is interfering with their ability to function, and therefore, assessment by a counselor is indicated. Session focuses on assessing level of distress, offering help tolerating negative emotions in the moment, determining the level of support.
    Learn more more about Same Day Emergency Appointments.
  • Sign up to utilize TAO (therapy assistance online)     
  • Journal or write down your thoughts in any creative way you can think of such as poetry, music lyrics, etc.
  • Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or adult role model
  • Practice relaxation techniques or meditate (check out our self-help link!)
  • Listen to soothing music or watch a comforting or funny movie
  • Exercise or do anything active such as take a walk or play a sport
  • Color, draw, craft, paint, etc.
  • Distract yourself with any healthy and soothing activity you can think of
Emergency Mental Health Services in Philadelphia
  • Aria Torresdale Hospital Emergency Room - 24 hours: 215-612-4000
  • Friends Hospital - Crisis Response Center: 215-831-2600
  • Nazareth Hospital Emergency Room - 24 hours: 215-335-6000
  • Temple-Episcopal Hospital – Behavioral Health Crisis Response: 215-707-2577
  • Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit 24-Hours: 215-685-3251
  • The Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center: 215-800-1589 Emergencies: Call 215-425-1625 to reach the on-call sexual assault nurse examiner
  • Women Against Abuse 24-Hour Hotline: (domestic violence) 215-386-1280 National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) 24-Hour Hotline (sexual Assault): 215-985-3333


Mental Health Emergency Services for Surrounding Counties