Responding to Mental Health Emergencies

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A Guide for Faculty

Student Life Committee of the Faculty Senate
Division of Student Affairs
This guide has been jointly developed for faculty by the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Life Committee of the Faculty Senate.

In recent years, universities have faced legal action in the face of student suicides. However, according to Fordham University's Office of Legal Counsel:

"It is both morally sound and legally prudent for faculty who recognize a student is in emotional distress to offer the student some form of assistance that relates to their authority as educators concerned about their students' physical and emotional well-being. Accordingly, faculty, even those with specialized training in relevant fields, should make prompt referrals to the dean of students if they suspect a student is in emotional distress or threatening harm to him/herself or others."

This guide also provides some basic information on symptoms and risk factors for suicide. Please note:

This guide is intended to be used to review risk factors for suicide, explain how to approach students in crisis and provide information about the resources that are available on campus. A guide can only identify a limited number of important items. Please use the procedure outlined in the section labeled What To Do In An Emergency for assistance in all emergencies. In non-emergencies, contact the dean of students or the Counseling Center. At Fordham, help is just a phone call away 24 hours every day. Also, please visit the Counseling Center webpage at where you will find information about free and anonymous screenings for depression, anxiety, alcohol use and eating disorders as well as other resources.

What to do in an Emergency

What you need to know

Signs of Possible Psychological Distress

How to help a student (in a non-emergency situation)