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Psychological/Behavioral Emergency

On rare occasions, you may find yourself with a student who is experiencing extreme distress so as to pose a possible danger to themselves or others. Such cases are psychological/behavioral emergencies that require immediate intervention. Signs of an emergency include:

  • Threatening to harm self or others
  • Acting out
  • Emotional outburst
  • Loss of rationality
  • Venting, screaming, swearing, etc.
  • High energy output

If the student is in significant distress but not in a life-threatening situation, call 773.508.2530 and press option 3 for assistance and ask to speak with the Wellness Center's on-call mental health professional. Please leave a phone number where you maybe reached and the on-call mental health professional will call it as soon as possible.


General Guidelines for Managing a Psychological/Behavioral Emergency 

If the crisis is life threatening or if the student's behavior is extreme:

  • Call 44-911 from a campus phone and convey to the dispatcher that this is a life-threatening situation and that appropriate assistance is needed.
  • If others are present, escort the student to a private area or hallway or ask others to step away.
  • Be calm, clear and simple.
  • After the situation has been resolved, notify the Dean of Students office at 8-8840 so that follow up can be initiated.

If you feel threatened or intimidated:

  • Call 44-911 from a campus phone and convey to the dispatcher that you need help immediately. If you are in the classroom, send a specific student to go for help. Campus Safety can be reached at (773) 508-7233 from a mobile phone.
  • Wait for assistance.
  • Keep a safe distance and don't move toward the student.
  • Do not attempt an intervention. Intervening at this point may trigger physical acting out behavior and jeopardize your safety and the safety of others around you.
  • After the situation has been resolved, notify the Dean of Students office at 8-8840 from a campus phone so that follow up can be initiated

These verbal intervention tips may help you: 


Remain calm

Isolate the situation

Enforce the limits


Be aware of non verbals

Be consistent


Get in a power struggle

Make false promises

Fake attention

Be threatening

Use jargon

Support After the Emergency

  • Contact the Wellness Center at 8-2530 from a campus phone and press option 3 if you would like to talk to a mental health professional about what happened. Situations such as these can have impact on you.

  • If the emergency happened in the classroom, a mental health professional can help you to sort things out and can offer to you some suggestions on helping the other students in the classroom.



If you have made a referral to the Wellness Center, it is understandable that you might want to follow-up to see how the student is doing. Because of the importance of a student's right to privacy, professional standards of confidentiality and privileged communication laws bind the mental health professionals at the Wellness Center to strict confidentiality including whether a student kept an appointment or is being seen at the Center. However, if a student wishes that a mental health professional talk with you, the student must ask to sign a release of information form.