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Crisis Resources and Warning Signs

If you or someone you know is having trouble coping with stressful events, the Saint Louis University Counseling Center is here to help. During normal business hours, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, contact us by phone at 314-977-8255 (TALK) or visit us at the clinic.

Outside of normal business hours (including weekends and holidays) students in crisis have several options:

  • Call 911 immediately if you are facing a life threatening emergency.
  • Contact your resident advisor or residence life professional staff.
  • Speak to on-call campus ministry staff at 314-630-9197.
  • Call the Department of Public Safety at 314-977-3000.
  • Consult with an on-call University Counseling Center staff member at 314-977-8255 (TALK).

Additional After-Hours Resources

  • Behavioral Health Response (BHR): 314-469-6644 or 800-811-4760
  • Saint Louis University Hospital: 314-577-8000
  • Life Crisis Services: 314-647-4357
  • Grassroots Suicide Hotline: 1-800-422-0009
  • National Hopeline Hotline (English and Spanish): 1-800-784-2433
  • First Call for Help Hotline (English and Spanish): 1-800-492-0618
  • ULifeline National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you are in crisis, you can:

  • Contact a friend or family member for support.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope.
  • Be around people.
  • Engage in a calming activity.
  • Ask for help.

If You Know a Student in Distress

If you live or work on campus, you might encounter a student with mental health needs. There are steps you can take to assist and refer them to helpful resources. 

Step 1: Identify the Warning Signs

Recognizing the warning signs of a student in distress does not require special training or expertise. It does, however, require an awareness of symptoms. Not everyone will directly state that something is wrong, but language and behaviors often do. Look for changes in the following areas:

  • Shows up for an event or class, but leaves early
  • Makes excuses to avoid social opportunities
  • Doesn't seem to connect with others
  • Skips class frequently
  • Stays in room or bed all day
  • Avoids eye-contact
Troubling Communications
  • Intends to harm self or someone else
  • Expresses a hopeless or negative outlook
  • Blames self or others for mood/behavior
  • Speaks in confused or disorganized way
Major Changes in Mood or Behavior
  • Appears agitated, depressed, "checked-out," uptight or on edge
  • Neglects personal hygiene or appearance
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Increased sleep or inability to sleep nearly every day
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
Step 2: Listen

Don't be afraid to ask "What's wrong?" or "What's going on?" Simply asking the question won't create a problem where there isn't one. Don't underestimate the importance of listening. Without doing anything else, you are providing the support that could help a student feel heard and understood, maybe for the first time. Face-to-face communication is best, when possible, but any (e.g. email, text) communication is better than none.

  • Be Attentive.
  • Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal language.
  • Convey an accepting attitude (e.g. try not to judge or dismiss the person).
Step 3: Communicate Concern

Express concern in a calm, non-judgmental way. Acknowledge that you can see the struggle and that it is appropriate to feel that way.

  • Do say things like: "I'm worried about you. It seems like you haven't been yourself lately."
  • Don't say things like: "It seems like your life's a mess right now."
Step 4: Make a Referral
Keep in mind that struggling with normal life events does not always require counseling. However, if the situation is causing a severe reaction (e.g. the student seems to be spiraling downward or not functioning well) or it has been ongoing for more than a week or two, then a referral to counseling may be appropriate.

The University Counseling Center staff are here to offer help, guidance and support. If you would like to consult with a staff member about how to handle a student's concerns, call 314-977-8255 (TALK).

When should I refer?
  • Review the warning signs above to determine if any apply to the student. Trust your own intuition even if there are no identifiable signs.
  • If you have immediate concerns about a student's safety (you think he/she might cause harm to self or others), stay with the student and call the Department of Public Safety at 314-977-3000 or 911.
  • If it is not a life-threatening situation but you are still concerned, you can involve DPS and/or accompany the student to the University Counseling Center during regular business hours.
After-hour Options
  • Contact the student's resident advisor or residence life professional staff
  • Speak to on-call campus ministry staff at 314-630-9197
  • Call the Department of Public Safety at 314-977-3000
  • Consult with an on-call UCC staff member at 314-977-8522 (TALK)
How do I refer?
  • Encourage the student make an appointment directly if possible. You may want to assist them by dialing the number, wait while the appointment is made or even walk with them to the University Counseling Center.

How to Make an Appointment