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Crisis Intervention

If you are working with a student that is having suicidal feelings; having difficulty controlling the urge to hurt themself or someone else; or know someone else who is having these feelings, seek help immediately:

Student Health: (408) 848-4791 9am - 4pm M-F

For emergencies or urgent needs outside the regular business hours of Gavilan Student Health, the following agencies will connect you with someone who can evaluate your situation and provide help.


  • South County Self Help Center: 408.686.2365 OR 408.686.2368
    A Safe Confidential and Free Service For Mental Health Consumers. Our Vision Is To Be Of Service To The Mental Health Community, To Promote Self Healing, Education and Networking with Peers
  • 24 Hour Crisis Line, Santa Cruz / San Benito County: 831-458-5300
    Santa Clara County 408.686.2365
    Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast
  • Community Solutions (South County) 408-683-4118
    Mental health services for all ages, support for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, and housing programs for clients facing mental health and other challenges.
    Suicide Prevention
    Suicide Prevention
    A statewide, toll-free, 24-hour, confidential hotline for youth age 12-24 for information, support, and referrals to local resources.

Recognizing a Student in NeedDepression

You may be the first one to recognize when a student needs help, and can guide him or her to professional resources. The following examples of student’s appearance, behavior, and expressions of distress are cause for concern.

Unusual Appearance:

  • Swollen or red eyes
  • A change in personal hygiene or dress
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain

Marked Behavior Changes:

  • Poor performance and preparation
  • Excessive absences or tardiness
  • Repeated requests for special consideration, especially when accompanied by a change in attitude
  • Unusual or changed pattern of interaction
  • Avoids participation
  • Dominates discussions
  • Excessive anxiety when called upon
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Problems with roommates or family
  • Exaggerated emotional responses that are inappropriate to the situation
  • Depressed, lethargic mood
  • Hyperactivity or very rapid speech
  • Strange or bizarre behavior indicating a loss of contact with reality

Preventing Violence

Be concerned if you observe any of the following:

  • Alcohol or drug intoxication
  • Paranoia or agitation
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Recent acts of violence, including damage to property
  • Verbal or physical threats
  • Threatening actions or objects that may be used as weapons

What To Do

  • Protect yourself—Be alert to the potential for violence. Know as much about the situation as possible before meeting the student. Survey the scene for immediate hazards. Resist dealing with the situation alone; enlist the help of others.
  • Abstain from provoking violence—Approach the individual in a non-threatening way. Speak in a calm, reassuring manner. Never confront or threaten students who seem paranoid or aggressive. Refrain from touching the person if you can and avoid physically restraining anyone who is agitated. If you are attacked, use only enough force to contain the person.
  • Be firm, but gentle—Let the student know that violence is not acceptable. It is often helpful to change the environment. Get the student to a calm, quiet place (away from environmental stimuli, such as noise, lights and people). Also try to avoid crowds or sources of anger.

Less Urgent Concerns

In a non-urgent situation, talk with the student about your observations and concerns. Such acknowledgment often encourages them to get help. Try the following approaches:

  • Be direct, specific and nonjudgmental
  • Spell out your specific concerns and ask how you can help
  • Express concern (rather than shock, dismay, fear or anger, which may further upset the student)
  • Listen carefully to understand his or her point of view

Making a Referral

Point out that help is available and encourage the student to go to: TODO Counseling
If the student agrees, you can facilitate this by arranging the appointment while the student is still with you. Emphasize that seeking help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness or failure. In a similar vein, seeking professional help when you have problems with your car, health, or the law is a smart thing to do.

Follow Up

Arrange to meet with the student again. Your follow-up can solidify the student's resolve to get appropriate help. It also demonstrates your commitment to assist with the process. Ask the student if he or she kept the appointment with the counselor and how it went.

From the Vaden Health Center, Stanford University. Full Article

Kognito Logo

Kognito At-Risk for Faculty & Staff

We have adopted an interactive, online gatekeeper training simulation that will assist faculty and staff to better identify and refer students in distress to support services on campus. We highly recommend that you take this 45 minute course, which is already in use at over 400 colleges and universities.

To take the course, follow the instructions below:

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