Psychological Distress or Crisis

Psychological Distress or Crisis

Once an administrator, instructor, or staff member is aware of an individual who is in a psychological distress or crisis, the employee should assess the level of the crisis and respond using the following as guidelines:

Non Emergency Level: 

Psychological Distress exists when a student’s ability to cope overwhelms their ability to completely function in the college setting.  Although the student may report being in distress, they are aware of their actions and exhibit no uncontrollable behaviors.

Action(s):

  • Do not leave the individual alone.
  • If they are willing to meet with a counselor, call the campus Center for Student Development during regular business hours to request the assistance of the Lead Counselor or one of the Counseling staff members.
  • Accompany the students to the Center for Student Development to see a Counselor, or wait with the student until the Counselor can meet them in their current location.

Emergency Level: 

A Psychological Crisis exists when a person’s capacity to cope has become overwhelmed to the point that they can no longer function effectively.  The crisis may be manifested as paranoia, hallucinations, uncontrollable behavior such as crying, or complete withdrawal.

Action(s):

  • Do not leave the individual alone.
  • Appear confident that you can help the individual.
  • Contact the campus Lead Counselor as soon as possible.  If they are not available, contact another Counselor in the Center for Student Development.
  • The Lead Counselor or another Counselor should contact a family member (spouse, parent, significant other) and get them in charge of the situation as soon as possible.
  • Refer to a professional treatment center.*

*In the event a family member cannot be contacted, it may be necessary to arrange for the individual to be taken to a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office for treatment.  Upon the decision from the Lead Counselor, College Police will be requested to carry out the following actions:

An individual that agrees to accept assistance:

With the assistance of a Center for Student Development Counselor, two college Police Officers will take the distressed person in a police vehicle to Ben Taub Hospital or the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center for a psychiatric evaluation and possible hospitalization.

An individual that refuses assistance and is found to be a danger to themself and/or others:

With the assistance of a Center for Student Development Counselor, two college police officers will take the distressed person in custody and obtain a mental health warrant through the Harris county Clerk’s Office located in Room 1A33 of the University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center located at 2800 S. McGregor, Houston, Tx  77021 (713-741-6020).

An individual that has done harm to himself/herself: 

is considered a medical emergency.  Ambulatory service would automatically take them into custody and make the decision of where they are to be transported.