Skip to main content

Helping Others

Emergency help is available if you or someone you know is in immediate crisis:

If you or someone you know needs to speak with a University Counseling Center professional immediately:

  • If you or someone you know needs to speak with a professional counselor immediately, the University Counseling Center offers Crisis Care Counseling during the summer and academic year. Students may come directly to the UCC and be seen by the clinician on call, or may call the UCC at (615) 322-2571 to speak with a clinician. If you are calling after hours, you will be transferred to an answering service with mental health providers on call.

    • Academic year Crisis Care hours at the UCC begin on August 20, 2018 and are from 10:00AM to 4:00PM Monday through Friday.

Students should go to the Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital (M-F, 8AM-11PM and Sat-Sun 8AM-8PM) or to the VUMC ER for acute assessment and support if UCC Crisis Care Counseling hours are closed and it is an emergency.

If you or someone you know would like to speak by phone or text with a trained crisis professional, there are nation-wide services available:

  • Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor, from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis

  • Students of color can also text STEVE to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 to speak with a crisis counselor dedicated to supporting the mental health and emotional wellbeing of students of color.

A student’s life can be stressful. As a student, faculty, or staff member, you may recognize a fellow Commodore in distress who may benefit from wellness support and professional resources.

We recommend the following process to help a student in distress:

You may also submit a Student of Concern Form at any time.

How to Submit a Student of Concern Form

Identify

Early detection and intervention is important. Identify a student who may be in distress by noticing changes in performance, behavior, or demeanor. A combination of several changes is most likely to indicate that a student is in distress.

  • Academic performance changes, such as:

    • Declining grades or reduced class participation
    • Incomplete or missing assignments
    • Repeated requests for extensions, incompletes, or withdrawals
    • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
    • Disruptive classroom behavior
    • Apparent memory loss or difficulty concentrating
    • Poor organization skills or trouble with note taking
    • Bizarre, aggressive, or morbid comments or written content
    • Chronic fatigue, falling asleep in class
  • Physical changes, such as:

    • Poor or declining physical appearance, hygiene, and grooming
    • Signs of intoxication, dilated or constricted pupils, or apparent hangovers
    • Extreme fluctuations in weight
  • Behavioral changes, such as:

    • Expressions of feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty and/or worthless
    • Nervousness, fearfulness, or tearfulness
    • Inflated sense of self-importance and exaggerated behavior
    • Suspected alcohol or drug use
    • Erratic behavior, sudden mood swings, inappropriate anger, hostility, and irritability
    • Withdrawal from others or loss of pleasure in everyday activities
    • Social media posts related to mental and emotional wellness
    • Talk of suicide or harm to self or others
  • Experiencing triggering events, such as:

    • breakup in a relationship
    • incident of sexual assault or an abusive relationship
    • academic failure
    • facing University or legal sanctions
    • death of a loved one

For more specific warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide, visit the MAPS (Suicide Prevention) website.

Approach

Once you have identified a student who may be in distress, approach the student to offer support. If they need immediate assistance, please refer to the “In Case of Immediate Crisis” section above. There is no one right way to initiate this conversation, however, the below steps are known best practices.

  • Respect their privacy.

    • Choose a place where you may talk quietly without interruption at a time convenient for you both.
  • Express care.

    • Be honest and focus on the specific signs that alerted you to a possible problem.
    • Remain calm, compassionate, and willing to listen. o Use language that is non-judgmental and specific, such as “I noted that [indicate change in behavior that raised concern.]”
    • If you suspect suicidal ideation, do not be afraid to ask if they are considering suicide. This is a scary question to ask, but many research studies have shown that asking the question does not increase the risk of suicide.
    • Asking open-ended questions may elicit a response, such as “How are things going?”
    • Avoid “yes” or “no” questions.
  • Offer support and listen.

    • Convey your willingness to help.
    • Be aware that the student could respond in a variety of ways. Don’t interpret negative, indifferent, or hostile responses as a wasted effort. A decision to seek help often takes time.
    • Reflect back to the student what you hear to indicate you are listening.
    • Do not promise confidentiality. If a student asks you to keep something confidential, gently pause the conversation and tell them you may be able to keep some things confidential, but there are other things that you would need to take action on in order to keep the student or others safe. Refer the student to the list of confidential resources on campus.
  • Take care of yourself.

    • Offering support to others can be challenging. You are not alone. Read below for how to refer a student to the Office of Student Care Coordination, and for how to submit a Student of Concern Form. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Visit the Student Care Network website for the health and wellness resources available to you.

Refer

Vanderbilt’s Office of Student Care Coordination (OSCC) is a central point of intake for students to be referred to the best resources to meet their specific needs.

  • Encourage the student to visit the Office of Student Care Coordination website to complete an online assessment or provide the phone number – (615) 343- WELL (9355) – to schedule an appointment. You may offer to help the student complete this assessment, help them make the initial phone call, or walk with the student to the OSCC during their office hours. Or, if appropriate, ask for an agreement with the student to make an appointment with the OSCC by a certain date, and follow-up with the student. The Office of Student Care Coordination will ensure the student receives the appropriate support for the specific challenges they are facing.
  • The student may also benefit from browsing the Student Care Network website on their own time to learn more about health and wellness resources available to them.
  • Keep communication open by telling the student you are always willing to listen. Continue to follow-up as appropriate by asking questions such as “How have you been?”

Submit a Student of Concern Form

Faculty, staff, students, and community members can report their concerns pertaining to the personal, physical, or emotional wellbeing of a student using the Student of Concern Form. This form is not designed to be an emergency response notification. Students needing immediate assistance should refer to the “In Case of Immediate Crisis” section above.

When should I submit a Student of Concern Form?

You should submit a Student of Concern Form if you identify a student who is exhibiting concerning behavior related to their personal, physical, or emotional wellbeing and:

  • You would like someone else to be aware of the issue;
  • You believe the student needs immediate follow-up;
  • You believe the student needs ongoing support;
  • You have updated information about a previous report you filed; or
  • You want advice on how to interact with or support the student.

If you are unsure whether you should submit a report, please contact the Office of Student Care Coordination at (615) 343-WELL (9355).

You may share with the student that you are submitting a form to help them find support, or you may submit an anonymous form.

What happens once a form has been submitted?

Once a Student of Concern Form is submitted, appropriate staff in the Office of Student Care Coordination will review and assess the information in order to determine the best course of action for follow-up. Follow-up is individually tailored and, where possible, relationship-driven, and it may include a staff member reaching out to the student directly and working with the student on a success plan or appropriate referrals. A staff member may contact the reporting party for additional information. A reporting party may not receive any specific follow-up information due to privacy laws and regulations.

Resources & Training

We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to take the Kognito and MAPS online training modules to increase your confidence in identifying students in distress and referring them to support services.

Kognito at Risk

Kognito at Risk is an online interactive program that engages learners in simulated conversations with virtual, fully animated students who show signs of depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.

Mental Health Awareness & Prevention of Suicide (MAPS)

MAPS is a joint training initiative between the Center for Student Wellbeing and the University Counseling Center designed to prevent suicide in the campus community while promoting mental health awareness.

Training

Call the Office of Student Care Coordination at 615-343-WELL (9355) for information on how to request tailored trainings for your organization, department, office, or group. Trainings are available for students, faculty, and staff, and can cover a variety of topics as they relate to student wellness.

College & School Liaisons and Deans

Each school or college has a designated point of contact who works with the Office of Student Care Coordination to assist faculty and staff in helping students get the support they need.

  • A&S – Roger Moore, Associate Dean • 615-322-2844
  • Blair – Melissa Rose, Associate Dean • 615-322-7693
  • Divinity – Amy Steele, Assistant Dean for Student Life • 615-343-5749
  • Engineering – Burgess Mitchell, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs • 615-343-3773
  • Graduate School –Mary Michael-Woolman, Assistant Dean • 615-936-0273
  • Law – Chris Meyers, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs • 615-343-5807
  • Medical – Amy Fleming, Associate Dean • 615-936-0257
  • Nursing – Sarah Ramsey, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs • 615-343-3334
  • Owen – Kelly Christie, Assistant Dean • 615-322-4064
  • Peabody – Monique Robinson-Nichols, Assistant Dean for Peabody Student Affairs • 615-343-6947

 

Upcoming Events

MORE EVENTS »