Help for Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Emergencies Procedure

Mental Health Crisis Help


  1. Notify Public Safety: 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.
  2. Call 911. If you perceive the emergency to be immediately life-threatening or the student is not on campus, obtain an outside line and dial 911, giving complete details of the problem, including exact location. In order to coordinate an excused absence from classes while the student seeks emergency treatment for their mental health crisis, notify the CARE team at
  3. Other options for obtaining Emergency Mental Health 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)

Crisis Between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

When a Mental Health Emergency occurs during normal business hours - between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. -  and the student is on campus:

The Counseling Center can typically provide an in-person safety assessment at the center (Campus Center rooms 202 and 204). Students, faculty, and staff should call Public Safety at 267-341-3333 to report the emergency and arrange for an assessment. You can also call the Counseling Center at 267-341-3222 during regular daytime hours, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. However, sometimes staff are in session or 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.

Crisis Before 8 a.m. and After 4 p.m.

When the Mental Health Emergency occurs after normal business hours - before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. - and the student is on campus:

The Counseling Center can typically provide a telephone safety assessment. In order to reach a Counselor after-hours, students, faculty, and staff should call Public Safety at 267-341-3333 to report the emergency and arrange for an assessment.

Off Campus Crisis Before 8 a.m. and After 4 p.m.

When the Mental Health Emergency occurs after normal business hours - before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. - and the student is off campus:

Local Emergency Services should be contacted immediately. Faculty and staff should call 911 or county mental health crisis services where the student of concern is located. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 to assist with mental health emergencies. Public Safety (267-341-3333) can also assist in finding students emergency assistance in the county/area where they are located.

Important Information About Emergency Communications 

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. 

Ask, Listen, Refer: Suicide Prevention Training Program 

Ask.Listen.Refer Suicide Prevention Training Program



Our Suicide Prevention program provides the training you need to respond to student mental health crisis.

The Ask, Listen, Refer Suicide Prevention Training Program is designed to help you recognize the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and respond appropriately.  This 15-20 minute interactive training program encourages concerned persons to Ask if someone is thinking about suicide, Listen to their response carefully, and Refer them to a professional. Through this program, you will learn about the prevalence of suicide among the college population, suicide warning signs, and sample conversations to guide you through this difficult time.

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:

  • 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