Crisis Intervention Protocol for Mental Health Emergencies

  1. SCSU constituent (e.g., AC/AT, RA/RE) identifies a student who has posed a threat of harm/danger to self/others (e.g., self-mutilation, suicide attempt, evidence of psychosis, etc). First responder contacts UP.
  2. UP assesses situation and (if necessary) consults with VPSA/RL&HD/C&SDC ESC to determine whether to:
    a) transport student to ER
    b) contact EMS for assessment/transport, or
    c) contact OAMHC on-call clinical services for consultation/intervention.
  3. On-duty RE/AC/AT goes to hospital, notifies C&SDC ESC if call has not already been made by UP; RE/AC/AT and C&SDC ESC meet at the hospital.
  4. RE/AC/AT and C&SDC ESC check in and exchange information about situation and student.
  5. C&SDC ESC makes presence known to hospital as key contact for SC State University regarding student mental health crisis.
  6. C&SDC ESC will check in with student if possible and assess student situation.
  7. RL&HD/RE/AD/AC/AT will manage other student concerns if students and friends in attendance at hospital.
  8. C&SDC ESC will share info from student/hospital staff with C&SDC D and RE/RL&HD/AC/AT/AD.
  9. RL&HD/AD and C&SDC D will consult with VPSA to determine if student is capable of calling parents and updating them about the situation.
  10. If so, RE/RL&HD/AC/AT/AD will talk with student about contacting parents. C&SDC ESC will support this effort by encouraging student and expressing seriousness of concern.
  11. Once student has spoken to parent, RL&HD/AD and C&SDC ESC will be available to answer parent questions and confirm that call was made. -RE/AC/AT explains to parents the protocol for returning to SCSU, framing situation and communicating serious concern for student. C&SDC D/ESC may talk to parents on the phone regarding mental health questions.
  12. If student is not capable of calling parents, or refuses, C&SDC ESC and RE/RL&HD/AD/AC/AD alert VPSA. VPSA determines whether/by whom contact will be made to parents to update them of current situation. VPSA gets them in touch with C&SDC D/ESC to address mental health questions and facilitates explanation of basic SC State University process for response and follow up to parents.
    C&SDC ESC works with hospital social worker, psychiatrist, or other medical professional on site to understand immediate treatment plan and communicate University protocol. (Student is not to return to campus without a C&SDC assessment and safety plan in place), including communication with C&SDC ESC when student is released from the hospital or transported to mental health facility(OAMHC). If hospital staff are unwilling to communicate this information, then C&SDC ESC works with student to have a plan in place so that C&SDC is updated as the situation evolves.
  13. Once the student is out of immediate danger and a plan has been established, RL&HD/AD/AC/AT and C&SDC D/ESC assess whether someone should remain at the hospital (with a purpose for staying, e.g., meet parents who are on the way soon, wait for parents if still in the process of being contacted, student is not out of immediate danger and parents are not on site yet, friends are in the reception area and are in need of support, or student waiting for student to be transported to OAMHC or other aftercare facility, etc.).
  14. C&SDC ESC updates supervisor (C&SDC D).
  15. RE updates supervisor (RL&HD).
  16. AC/AT update supervisor (AD).
  17. C&SDC ESC is responsible for initiating communication with other attending medical professionals, mental health agencies, as needed—as part of assessment and consultation process for the University. C&SDC ESC will explain to student what is needed from these professionals and agencies regarding documentation/phone calls/etc., as well as signed releases in order to provide as much information as possible for the assessment. This could last days, depending upon whether student is hospitalized.
  18. C&SDC ESC will notify faculty of medical emergency (and if and when appropriate, can reassure student that email of a very general nature will go out—student is responsible for contacting faculty when able and arranging how and if work may be made up, etc.).
  19. Once student is released from hospital, student should remain in care of parents until student has been:
    -assessed by C&SDC ESC (includes documentation from other medical professionals, hospital, etc.)
    -RL&HD/AC/AT consults with C&SDC ESC to discuss safety plan and whether student can stay safe living on campus
    -If student may stay on campus, RL&H consults with C&SDC ESC to draft safety plan in preparation for meeting with student and parent (s). Safety plan addresses impact on community in addition to harm to self. Document is on file with C&SDC and RL&H databases and any other referral sources identified in plan (Author is RL&HD).
    -RL&HD/AD meets with student, parent(s), RE/AC/AT and C&SDC ESC to discuss status of student, facts of situation, concern for student and safety plan
    -If there is concern regarding student remaining on campus, RL&HD/AD and C&SDC ESC discusses situation with VPSA
    -If decision is that student is not safe to remain in school, VPSA, C&SDC D, and AD will meet with student and parent (s) to discuss facts, status, community implications, safety plan and resources off campus, and administrative recommendations/decision for student to withdraw him/herself from school
  20. If student remains on campus, RL&HD and C&SDC ESC follow up with student regarding general wellbeing, progress and safety plan concepts.
  21. RE/AC/AT follow(s) up with friends, community impacted by behavior.
  22. If student does not remain in school, C&SDC ESC sends letter (authorized by VPSA) summarizing concerns, as well as criteria to be considered for possible reenrollment at a later time (by committee).

Combative Student or Student Refuses Assessment


If UP determines student to be combative or student refuses assessment, student may be placed under emergency detention without a warrant. Several UP officers may be required to assist with this process. If so, a UP officer will go to the hospital and remain with the student until student is transported to RMH for voluntary or involuntary admission.


RL&H/A and C&SDC should proceed with same steps as above, but understand that UP Officer is required to remain with student during “emergency detention without a warrant.” Whenever possible, UP should notify RL&H (RE)/AC/AT and C&SDC (ESC) on site of the “emergency detention” status, as well as whatever information UP has regarding next steps with student.


If UP remains with the student after RL&H RE/D/AC/AT and C&SDC ESC leave hospital with plan in place, UP should update C&SDC ESC/AD/RS&HD to inform them of status changes, movement to new facility, etc., and let C&SC ESC know when the officer is cleared from the incident (leaving facility). C&SDC ESC will then communicate with the appropriate medical professionals or hospital regarding #18 above.


C&SDC D – Counseling & Self-Development Center
C&SDC D – Counseling & Self-Development Center Director
C&SDC ESC – Counseling & Self-Development Center Emergency Services Coordinator
RL&HD– Residence Life and Housing
RL&HD– Residence Life and Housing Director
RE – Residence Educator
A – Athletics
AD – Athletic Director
AC – Athletic Coach
AT – Athletic Trainer
UP – University Police
EMS – Emergency Medical Services
ER – Emergency Room
RMH – Regional Medical Hospital
OAMHC – Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center
VPSA – Vice President of Student Affairs