If there is an urgent clinical/personal crisis during working hours, students can come in on the same day to meet with the Psychological Emergency Clinician (PEC). These are usually 20-30 minute as-needed sessions that focus on crisis management. The primary goals are stabilization and safety so that the student can move on to next steps.
Keep in mind:
- Although urgency is defined by each student’s experience, typical presenting issues to emergency services are: thoughts of harming oneself or others, being at risk of failing classes due to mental health issues, paralyzing anxiety that limits everyday functioning, and BC community is concerned about a student’s behavior or level of distress.
- Similar to any urgent care or emergency room, one might have to wait for the next available emergency clinician. Most waits do not exceed 30 minutes and we try our best to triage the most clinically urgent cases.
Crisis Text Line
- Text HELLO to 741741 for free crisis support
- Website: crisistextline.org
If you have a psychological emergency, do one of the following:
1. During Regular working hours (8:45AM–4:45PM, Monday–Friday) call 617–552–3310
- If you are on campus and this is a life-threatening emergency call the Boston College Police at 617-552-4444.
- If you are off campus and this is a life-threatening emergency call 911.
- If you have an urgent problem that requires immediate assistance please call or come to University Counseling Services in Gasson 001 and ask to with speak with the Psychological Emergency Clinician (PEC).
2. After office hours and weekends
- If you have a problem you would like to discuss with one of our staff members and it can wait until the next business day please call Counseling Services at 617-552-3310 and follow prompts to be connected to the Psychological Emergency Clinician (PEC).
- If you have an urgent problem that requires immediate assistance please call University Health Services 617-552-3225 and ask to speak with the PEC. The nurse will page the PEC who is not on campus. The PEC will return your call as soon as possible.
If you are on campus and this is a life-threatening emergency, call the Boston College Police at 617–552–4444.
If you are off campus and this is a life-threatening emergency call 911.
To make an appointment:
In our efforts to provide quicker access to services to students who need support in problem solving a specific issue and not necessarily ongoing therapy, we are offering same-day 30-minute consultations with one of our clinicians. These are meant to be one-time consultation sessions to clarify your goals for treatment and problem solve a specific concern (e.g., advice on roommate or relationship conflict, how to best manage stress, coping skills regarding anxiety, help making a decision). The consultation meeting is designed to be goal-oriented so that you can leave with set of next steps. If a student wants/needs a follow up in the future, they can call and request another one-time, same-day consultation.
Keep in mind:
- Appointments are only scheduled for the same-day and are first come, first served
- This is a one-time consultation and is not meant for ongoing psychotherapy
- Any follow ups may be with a different clinician
- It will help to have an identified goal in mind
- Arrive to the session 10-15 minutes early to fill out demographic and clinical information
If a student is looking for short to mid-term counseling or needs help figuring out what treatment is most appropriate, they can schedule a 15-minute triage phone appointment, during which a clinician will gather information regarding the primary concern and collaborate with the student to make appropriate treatment recommendations (e.g., short-term individual therapy at UCS, group therapy at UCS, off campus therapy, or other campus resources).
Keep in mind:
- Find a quiet and private space to receive the 15-minute phone call from UCS
- This is a quick assessment of your clinical needs and not a full evaluation session
- There could be multiple outcomes including suggestion for group therapy, off campus referral, short term psychotherapy, or other campus or web-based resources
Newton Campus Appointments
University Counseling Services provides clinician availability in room 112 of 825 Centre Street on Newton Campus (www.bc.edu/bc-web/about/maps-and-directions/newton-campus-map.html). This clinician is intended to increase access for students at the Law School and for students living in the dorms on Newton Campus. A clinician will be available for individual counseling or same day consultation services on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Appointments must be scheduled by calling UCS at 617-552-3310 and asking to schedule for the Newton Campus clinician. Same Day Consultations may be scheduled for that day and are designed as stand alone appointments to work collaboratively to address a specific concern or problem of some urgency.
Recognizing Students in Distress
- Repeated absences
- Missed assignments, exams, or appointments
- Deterioration in quality or quantity of work
- Extreme disorganization or erratic performance
- Written or artistic expression of unusual violence, social isolation, despair or confusion, preoccupation with suicide or death
- Continual seeking of special provisions (e.g., extensions on papers, make-up exams)
- Patterns of perfectionism: (e.g. inability to accept any grade but an A)
- Overblown or disproportionate response to grades or other evaluations
Behavioral and Emotional Indicators
- Direct statements indicating distress, family problems, or loss
- Angry or hostile outbursts, yelling or aggressive comments
- Withdrawn from others, low motivation
- Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness; crying or tearfulness
- Expressions of severe anxiety or irritability
- Excessively demanding or dependent behavior
- Failure to respond to outreach by professors or staff
- Shakiness, tremors, fidgeting or pacing
- More animated than usual, euphoria, overly enthusiastic
- Deterioration in physical appearance or personal hygiene
- Excessive fatigue, exhaustion, falling asleep in class repeatedly
- Visible changes in weight, statements about change in appetite or sleep
- Noticeable cuts, bruises or burns
- Frequent or chronic illness
- Disorganized speech, rapid or slurred speech, confusion
- Unusual inability to make eye contact
- Coming to class bleary-eyed or smelling of alcohol or marijuana
In any given situation, there are several right ways to reach out to students in a caring manner. The only risk is in doing nothing at all.
Administrator on Call (via BCPD) 617-552–4444
Psychological Emergency Clinician (PEC) 617-552–3310
Responding to Students in Distress
- Speak directly with the student
- Refer the student to the appropriate resource
- When in doubt, consult
When talking to the student directly:
You will not be taking on the role of counselor. You need only to listen, care and offer resource referral information.
- Meet individually and in a quiet place
- Set a hopeful tone
- Express your concern and caring
- Point out specific behaviors you’ve observed
- Listen attentively to the student’s response and encourage him or her to talk
- Suggest resources and referrals
- Avoid making promises of confidentiality
- Plan for follow-up
Please note: Unless the student is suicidal or a danger to others, the ultimate decision to access resources belongs with the student.
When you refer the student directly:
Explain the limitations of your knowledge and experience. The referral resource has the resources to assist the student in a more appropriate manner.
- Provide name, phone number and office location of the referral resource or walk the student to the referral resource
- If you walk student to referral resource, inform the resource of your concerns. If the student is sent over without you, notify the resource of your concerns by phone prior to the student’s arrival.
- Realize that your offer of help may be rejected
- Keep the lines of communication open. Follow up with the student
When you consult, do so with one or more of these resources:
- Your supervisor or co-worker
- Academic Advising
- Department Chair or Associate Dean
- Graduate Program Administrator
- University Counseling Services
- University Health Services
- Office of the Dean of Students
- BC Police
- Residential Life
The Situation is Urgent if:
- There are written or verbal statements that mention despair, suicide, or death.
- Severe hopelessness, depression, isolation and withdrawal
- Statements that suggest the student is “going away for a long time”
If a student is exhibiting any of these signs, s/he may pose an immediate danger to her/himself. In this case, you should stay with the student and contact University Counseling Services at 617-552–3310.
After hours you can access the Psychological Emergency Clinician on call via the BC Police 617-552–4444, or Health Services 617-552–3227.
The Situation is an Emergency if:
- Physical or verbal aggression is directed at self, others, or property
- The student is unresponsive to the external environment; he or she is: incoherent or passed out, dis-connected from reality/exhibiting psychosis, displaying outright disruptive behavior
- The situation feels threatening or dangerous to you or others
If you are concerned about immediate threats to safety, call the BC Police: 617-552–4444.
No wrong door.
Rest assured, no matter what pathway you choose, the BC network of support is here for you.