Student Counselling Services - Crisis Information
I am in crisis or worried about someone else.
If you or someone else requires emergency / crisis support use the emergency numbers below. The Student Counselling Service is not a 24 hour service and does not offer drop in emergency or crisis support. We cannot guarantee we will be able to respond to crisis situations.
24 hour Crisis Support Services
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788
Police, Ambulance & Fire (for life threatening emergencies) 000
Other counselling services that may be able to provide appointments in a crisis situation
- Centrecare + 61 8 9325 6644
- Relationships Australia +61 8 9336 2114
- Men's Line + 61 8 9340 1820
- SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) 1800 199 888
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service + 61 9442 5000
How to talk to someone who is distressed
There is no correct procedure for helping someone who is distressed. Each of us will have our own style of approaching and responding to others who are distressed. Some of us might have more experience with people who are upset or become emotional, others may have little experience and therefore feel less sure of how to best help. It is important to know your personal limits as a friend or helper and be willing to ask for help yourself when you need it.
If you are in a situation where you need to help someone who is distressed, or if someone who appears to be distressed or unhappy approaches you to talk about personal problems we suggest the following approaches:
- If you can, request to talk to the person in private. If you are in a public space look for a more private place to talk, or ask someone if there is a quiet, safe place to talk. Don't choose an isolated place, keep others in view in case you need help.
- Speak directly, honestly and warmly.
- Ask the person if they have talked to anyone else about their distress, such as family or friends. If they have not, ask them if they have someone in mind they could talk to.
- If you have initiated the contact after being concerned for a person, express your concern in behavioural, nonjudgmental terms. For example, "I've noticed you've been absent from class lately and I'm concerned," rather than "Where have you been lately? You should be more concerned about your grades." or "I notice you were tearful after class earlier is there anything I can do to help?"
- If the person is willing to talk with you, listen to their thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, non-threatening way. Communicate you are listening and understand by repeating back a summary of what the person is concerned about and clarify that you have got it right. Try to include both the details of their concern and how they are feeling or coping. For example, "It sounds like you're not accustomed to this much work in so short a period of time and you're worried about failing" Or "So you received your results yesterday and are upset with the outcome and are not sure what to do next."
- It is important to respect the persons experience even if you think they are overreacting or behaving inappropriately. Avoid judging statements or challenging what they are saying.
- If you notice a person behaving inappropriately or in a strange manner don't avoid addressing this. Talk directly to them about your observations.
- Do not discuss your concerns with other people. If you feel you need to consult with someone else tell the person you need to get help and will do so in a private and confidential manner. Ask the student to wait and provide them somewhere comfortable to do so.
- If the person appears to not be able to manage on their own, do not leave them alone. Ask someone else to get help.
How to talk with someone who indicates they are thinking of suicide
If you become concerned that a person is suicidal, ask to speak with them confidentially and ask the following questions that a health professional would also use to assess risk:
- Do you have a plan for exactly how you would act on these thoughts?
- When and where do you intend to carry out the plan?
- Have you ever attempted suicide before?
The more specific and fatal the persons plan, and if they have previously attempted suicide before indicates a higher the risk that they may act on their plan. Don't be afraid to ask these questions they will not 'plant' ideas in the persons head about suicide. If they are already thinking about suicide talking directly about their intentions in a matter of fact way is important. Remember that many people consider suicide from time to time. Thinking about death as a way of coping with pain and stress is common. Less specific and fatal plans probably indicate that a suicide attempt is less likely. If a person does indicate they are thinking about suicide always refer them to professional help. On campus you can take them to the Student Counselling Service, ND9. You can also request permission from the person to contact a family member or friend to come and take them to see a GP or Emergency Services. If no other help is available call Lifeline 13 11 14 or one of the Emergency Services listed above. You can also take the person to the closest hospital emergency department.
What do I do if I feel at risk of being harmed by someone or that someone is at risk of harming others?
If you are concerned that someone will harm you or others, try and ask someone for help immediately and call the Police 131 444 or 000.