Psychological Emergency 3305

DEFINITIONS

Psychological emergencies include but are not limited to, situations where a student attempts suicide, makes a threat or gesture of suicide, harms or attempts to harm themselves, or undergoes severe psychological distress.

POLICY OWNER

The Vice President for Student Affairs oversees this policy, the Office of the Dean of Students, and Counseling and Psychological Services, is responsible for compliance and proper procedures.

PURPOSE

Longwood University aims to maintain the safety of individual students, as well as the community, in the event of a psychological emergency.

POLICY

If a student is deemed to be a threat to self or others, they may not attend classes, university activities, or return to university housing until they have been given clearance to return by the Dean of Students or a designee. Clearance will require:

  • completion of the designated Psychiatric Evaluation Form with signed authorization from a psychiatric professional (e.g. psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner);
  • the psychiatric professional’s agreement that returning to school is in the student’s best interest;
  • demonstration from the student that they are no longer in crisis, have taken sufficient steps to address the underlying psychological concern(s) which triggered the crisis, and have a plan to maintain health; and
  • a meeting with the Dean of Students or their designee to complete behavioral contract, which will outline how the student can effectively function in the learning environment.

Consistent with the Disruptive Behavior Policy, a student’s parent/guarding will be contacted in the event of a psychological emergency. Students are responsible for costs associated with the psychiatric evaluation and any subsequent care that falls outside the scope of University services. This policy is implemented with sensitivity to students’ privacy and academic success. The Office of the Dean of Students will work with the student and the appropriate Academic Dean’s office to take measures necessary to allow students to return to school.

Faculty, staff, and student are expected to follow established procedures when there is a psychological emergency. Training resources are available for faculty, staff, and students. Counseling and Psychological Services shall maintain procedures for the provision of postvention services including psychological support, crisis intervention, and other forms of assistance to the campus community. Such procedures shall be designed to facilitate the grieving or adjustment process, stabilize the environment, reduce the risk of negative behaviors, and prevent suicide contagion.

PROCEDURES

  • When there is a situation involving an immediate threat to self or others, the Longwood University Police should be contacted immediately at 911 or 434.395.2091.  The police will involve the appropriate on-call administrator(s) who will involve the on-call Counselor/Psychologist.
  • When there is general concern for a student, the Office of the Dean of Students should be contacted at 434.395.2485, Monday through Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM. A designated staff member will involve other administrators and Counseling and Psychological Services as appropriate. If the concern arises after business hours, the Longwood University Police should be contacted for consultation. 
  • Counselors/Psychologists, Longwood University Police, Dean of Students, and Residential and Commuter Life staff shall follow their department’s established procedures, as trained.
  • The student of concern will also be discussed during the weekly Care Team meeting, and that team will follow-up as appropriate. 

Revised and approved by the Board of Visitors on September 13, 2019.