Mental Health, Well-Being, and Crisis

Consider this brief description of Mental Illness and Mental Health from NAMI:

A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.

A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple overlapping causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.

Counseling staff work with the CARE Team to address situations and, if necessary, refer students to additional support services.

What is a crisis?

While in school, students may occasionally encounter extremely challenging acute situations or the culmination of personal history that dramatically impacts their cognitive and emotional strategies. A crisis is an emergency (non–medical) situation that an individual perceives as stressful such that normal coping mechanisms are insufficient and an immediate response is necessary to reduce social and emotional distress.

All community members but particularly faculty and staff should be familiar with the Student Conduct Code which specifies classroom or campus behaviors subject to intervention or discipline. Referrals to the Counseling Center, reaching out to the CARE Team, and filing a conduct report are different ways of supporting students and maintaining a beneficial and safe classroom environment. In our educational environment it is helpful to consider principles of restorative justice in classroom management and to consider that "behavioral issues" may be best addressed through additional support and community reconciliation of the situation.

You can find a copy of the Student Conduct Code in the Student Handbook or your division. The lead administrator or counselor in your division as well as members of the CARE Team can provide additional guidance.

When to call?

Immediate triggers and personal-historical precedents for a crisis are individual but some common ones include:

  • Acute and chronic traumas both physical and psychological 
  • Grief 
  • Physical or sexual abuse 
  • Sexual assault and rape 
  • Harassment 
  • Experiences of racism 
  • Developing mental illness 
  • Exacerbated prior mental illness 
  • Substance use and addiction. 

Call when:

  • A student is suicidal or seriously depressed. 
  • A student is distraught/disoriented and appears to need immediate attention and cannot wait for a regular counseling appointment. 
  • A death, trauma, or accident occurs related to your class or department. 
  • A student appears under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is not combative or disruptive. 
  • A staff/faculty member is unable to diffuse the situation. 

When to contact the Counseling Center?

When confronted with a student crisis situation that does not require a more immediate security response, contact the Counseling Center at 206.934.5407. In the rare event that someone is not immediately available or if the office is closed, call the Public Safety Office at 206.934.5442.

When to call the Public Safety Office?

Call Public Safety Office (ext. 5442) when:

A student appears under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is combative or disruptive.

  • A student is aggressive or uncontrollable. 
  • A student is threatening, abusive, or endangers the health or safety of any person on campus.
  • A student is threatening imminent self-harm or suicide.

When to call 911?

Call 911 when the situation:

  • Is a life threatening emergency. 
  • Involves weapons. 
  • Is a serious medical incident. 
  • Always phone Campus Public Security to tell them that you phoned 911. 

Incident Report

Faculty and staff experiencing classroom or office disruption resulting from misconduct, or witnessing misconduct on school premises, please see your Dean or Division Counselor and use the Student Conduct Incident Report (doc). Consider whether this would be better reported to the CARE Team.