Emergency Assistance

Crisis services are provided primarily for emergency situations (e.g. thoughts of harming yourself or someone else). Counseling Services staff are available during office hours for crisis management, and Counseling Services staff are one of several campus emergency support systems available for crisis interventions after hours. If your concern is not a crisis/emergency, we ask that you contact the office during regular business hours to speak with a counselor and/or schedule an appointment.

When a crisis/emergency is primarily a mental health concern, please consider the following options:

  • Dial 911 first if there is an imminent risk.

  • During business hours Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm call Counseling Services at (336) 278-7280 or walk to Counseling Services’ office. Let the program assistant know it is an emergency. Please note, the program assistant will be out of the office during the noon hour, however, a counselor will be available to respond to crises.

  • After business hours, access the Student Life Emergency Response System by calling Campus Safety and Police at (336) 278-5555, and ask to speak with the Counselor on Call.

The Student Life Emergency Response System provides administrative response to students in crisis situations after hours and on weekends. It includes the Administrator on Call, the Counselor on Call, Violence and Bias Response and a Senior Student Life Administrator. Campus Safety and Police will dispatch the appropriate staff member based on the nature of the situation; you will receive a call from the on-call responder within 30 minutes of your initial call to Campus Safety and Police. The Counselor On-Call will complete a brief risk assessment of the situation and recommend steps for additional support or follow up to ensure safety. This may include a referral to the hospital for an in-person assessment. Once the immediate situation has been addressed by the emergency response staff member on-call, the situation may be referred to the appropriate administrative office the next business day.

  • Go to the emergency room of Alamance Regional Medical Center at 1240 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

  • Call the Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital (Greensboro) 24-hour HelpLine (336) 832-9700 or (800) 711-2635.

  • Go to the Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital located at 700 Walter Reed Dr, Greensboro, NC 27403 for 24-hour immediate face-to-face assessment.

  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 (TALK)

Please note, crisis management differs from providing counseling/psychotherapy after hours. The Counselor On-Call needs to remain available to respond to crisis/emergency situations, therefore if a student is not having an emergency/crisis and seeks counseling support after hours they will be referred to the office during business hours. The following are some general criteria that defines the difference between emergency mental health situations, crises, and psychological distress to assist students (and concerned others) with how to best access services from counselors at Counseling Services:

  1. Psychological Emergency refers to an imminent concern, such as suicidal behaviors, suicidal or homicidal thoughts that an individual has a plan, means, and intent to act upon, command hallucinations telling an individual to hurt themselves or others, bizarre/psychotic behavior, mental confusion or disorientation, serious side effects to psychotropic medications or an overdose of any medication. A psychological emergency would likely warrant hospitalization to ensure safety. CALL 911 to obtain immediate assistance.

  2. Psychological Crisis exists when an individual has directly or indirectly expressed to harm themselves or others, or is possibly out of touch with reality. The counselor will conduct a brief risk assessment and then provide the appropriate support, resources, and stabilization necessary to ensure safety. This may include referring the student to a local hospital for an in-person assessment. Once the student is stabilized, they will be referred for a follow-up appointment with a counselor during business hours.

  3. Psychological Distress is a general term used to describe unpleasant feelings or emotions (e.g., sadness, anxiety, panic, lack of focus, academic distress) that impact one’s level of functioning. In other words, it is psychological discomfort and strong emotions that interfere with one’s activities of daily living (e.g., interfere with studying, relationships, work, etc). Students in distress may be struggling to regulate their feelings and related reactions. If a student is in distress, but stable and safe (e.g., not in crisis or an emergency, as defined above), they should be encouraged to utilize coping skills and their support network. It would be most helpful for the student to contact Counseling Services when the office opens the next business day to schedule an appointment, or if urgent to be seen the next business day during office hours. A scheduled appointment allows for the student have a comprehensive initial intake assessment to discuss their concerns, set treatment goals, and collaborate to develop the most effective plan to meet their needs, rather than attempting to receive more limited support after hours without their full history.

  4. Psychological concerns with associated Medical concerns may also arise (e.g., cutting, ingesting pills, attempted hanging/strangulations, intoxicated and expressing suicidal/homicidal ideation, etc). The medical concern should be addressed first in a manner that also ensures safety (e.g., wounds are treated or being monitored in a safe location until toxicology is clear and a risk assessment can be conducted).

Please refer to additional information about the Student Life Emergency Response System.