Handling Student Threats to Self and Others
When a student lets you know that he/she is considering harming him/herself or others, consult with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (864) 656-2451 immediately. For after-hours coverage and when the University is officially closed, access CAPS counselor on-call through CUPD (864) 656-2222. If you e-mail CAPS, be sure and follow up with a phone call in urgent matters.
- The CAPS psychologist will advise you on possible actions to take. These may include: summon immediate emergency aid (calling 911), walk-over of student to CAPS, on-site visit by CAPS psychologist, or developing agreement for next day walk-over to CAPS. CAPS is located in Redfern Student Health Center across the street from the Hendrix Student Center.
- If immediate transport (911) is not indicated, you should contact the student and suggest you walk over to CAPS together at a specific time on the same day or the next morning.
- If CAPS walk-over does not happen:
Following the action taken, please notify the Dean of Students if you believe that office should become involved.
- Student refuses CAPS walk-over -- Notify the Dean of Students Office (656-0471) by telephone and explain the circumstances. Please do not send e-mail only. (Telling the student that the Dean will be notified if they don't show might assist in getting the student to go to CAPS voluntarily.)
- Student does not show up for walk-over, you should assess the need and take one of the following actions:
- Re-contract with the student for walk-over to CAPS,
- Call CUPD for welfare check (then facilitate the walk-over), or
- Dial 911.
If student exhibits continued problems and/or does not follow-through on your recommendations for CAPS assistance, contact the Dean of Students Office (864-656-0471) immediately.
- Note that threatening harm to oneself or others is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct. Threat of harm to self should be met with a referral to CAPS with confidentiality and compassion so long as the student follows your recommendation for assistance. Should the student not follow your (and CAPS) recommendations, the best course of action is to contact the Dean of Students so that the university regulations may be used to require the student to make use of university counseling and other resources for the sake of student and campus safety. Concerns that a student may be a threat to others should be addressed immediately.
Remember, making one CAPS referral does not guarantee that a student will use the services. Repeating the referral is important if there is any indication that the student's problems persist.
[Verna Howell and Raquel Contreras, April, 2007]