Medical or Mental Emergency

If serious injury or illness occurs on campus, immediately call the public safety department.

  • Give your name, location of the victim and describe the medical problem.
  • Keep the victim still and comfortable. Do not move the victim.
  • Check breathing and give artificial respiration/CPR if necessary. This should be administered only by personnel trained in CPR.
  • Control serious bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound.
  • Continue to assist the victim until help arrives.
  • Look for emergency medical identification, question witnesses and give all information to the paramedics.
  • AEDs or Automated Emergency Defibrillators are located in Evans Hall, the Woodruff Physical Activities Building, and public safety and are carried in their vehicles by Agnes Scott police officers. These should be used only by personnel trained in the AED portion of CPR training.

The mental health of Agnes Scott students is a primary concern. Our students’ experiences of emotional distress are private and individual most of the time. However, a number of students, staff and faculty interact with students with urgent mental health needs. Frequently, members of the campus community are unsure of how to be helpful to a student exhibiting symptoms consistent with depression, including self-harming behavior. Consultation on student mental health concerns is provided by the Office of Personal Counseling to all members of the campus community.

Wellness Center and Office of Personal Counseling
Students needing consultation or assistance regarding the impact of a recent or ongoing crisis are encouraged to contact the Office of Personal Counseling, where on-call counselors are available for consultation. Additionally, faculty and staff who are concerned about a student are encouraged to call OPC during business hours.

  • OPC is open for emergencies from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • During business hours phone: 404 471-7100
  • After hours, call the dean of students’ emergency number at 404 216-0942.

The Danger of Suicide: Responding to Students in Distress
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college age students and claims more lives each year in the United States than homicide. In a national survey of college students, 9.5 percent reported thinking seriously about suicide and 1.5 percent reported having made a suicide attempt.

Basic steps for responding to students in emotional distress are as follows:

1. Address Safety Concerns:

  • Establishing safety is essential.
  • Rule out any emergency needs requiring immediate response.
  • If the student is in imminent danger of hurting herself or others (suicidal or homicidal), call ASC Public Safety at 404 471-6400 from off campus and 6400 from a campus extension.

2. Listen to the Student:

  • Regardless of the student’s reason for distress, genuine concern can provide a human connection in moments of crisis. Sometimes a student may only need someone to listen for a short time in order to clarify concerns and validate feelings. The student can then be referred to someone in OPC, if needed.
  • Students with suicidal thoughts or gestures should be referred for professional help. Yet even those who are not suicidal may need more help than the lay person can provide. There are many campus and community resources that can offer professional help, including crisis intervention, counseling for the student and consultation for those offering help. Refer the student to OPC staff, who serve as the gateway to campus and community resources.

3. Encourage Hope for the Future:

  • Often people in crisis may not be thinking clearly. You can acknowledge this and remind them not to make any significant decisions during this time. Crisis situations are not usually a permanent state, and there may be alternatives that provide hope for the future.
  • Refer the student to OPC, where a trained counselor can help them work through this time of confusion.

When Talking to a Suicidal Student


  • Express your concern to the student about her suicidal thoughts.
  • Try to discuss suicide openly without judgment or shock.
  • Allow the student to express difficult emotions (Often a suicidal person feels angry, helpless, hopeless, worthless and out of control).
  • Refer the student to a trained counselor (same-day and emergency appointments are available at OPC 404 471-7100). Tell the coordinator your call is urgent.
  • You can consult with a clinician before you talk to a student.
  • You can also walk with the student to the Wellness Center.

Do Not:

  • Leave the student alone.
  • Try to dissuade a student from having these feelings.
  • Make a promise to keep the student’s thoughts of suicide secret.

If the student refuses help:

  • Call for consultation with a counselor. Faculty, staff, friends and family should not have to be responsible for decisions about suicide danger.
  • Call the Office of the Dean of Students at 404 471-6391. A dean may be able to assist.
  • Call residence life professional staff at 404 471-6408.
  • Stay involved.
  • Follow-up.

Sometimes a public event becomes distressing, even traumatizing, to a segment of our students or to our entire community. Some crises are of sufficient magnitude to impact the entire student community, such as the Sept. 11 attacks, the recent shootings on college campuses or devastation from a natural disaster.

When these community crises produce heightened stress among students, the Office of Personal Counseling expands its capacity to provide additional types of services quickly. The type of crisis intervention provided depends upon the circumstances and is planned in consultation with students, administrators, staff and/or faculty representatives for the students affected.

For example, Office of Personal Counseling staff will respond in the community, going to a residence hall or other location where students feel safe. Counseling also increase the counselors’ availability to see students who come into OPC in reaction to a community crisis. At other times the office will provide written information about crisis reactions and helpful coping strategies.