If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves or someone else, IMMEDIATELY call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. If you are on a PPCC campus, call Campus Police at 502-2900.


There is no one right formula to follow when responding to a distressed student. What is most important is to approach the student in a calm, gentle manner that conveys genuine concern and a sincere desire to understand and assist. Keep in mind that active listening and being there for the student is most effective in assisting the student.

Determining Urgency

Another key aspect of intervening is to determine how urgent the situation seems to be. The more apparently life-threatening the situation, the more rapidly one needs to intervene in bringing in appropriate resources. If the student appears seriously disoriented or incoherent, or if the situation appears imminently life-threatening, the best action to take is to call 911 immediately.


The following guidelines apply when the situation does not appear to be imminently life-threatening:

  • Request to speak with the student privately.
  • Describe the behaviors or signs that concern you.
  • Listen carefully, avoiding interruptions and asking too many questions.
  • Show concern and interest.
  • Repeat back the essence of what the student has told you.
  • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
  • Refrain from telling the student what to do.
  • Assist in identifying options available to the student, including relevant resources available to the student.
  • Consider the Counseling Center as a resource and discuss a referral with the student.
  • If the student resists help and you are worried, contact the Counseling Center to discuss your concerns at (719) 502-4782.


Maintaining interpersonal boundaries appropriate to a relationship with the student is important. Extending oneself can be a gratifying experience when kept within realistic limits. Short of emergency situations, sometimes there is not much a concerned person can do if the distressed student is not receptive to assistance.

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday 
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

*After Hours Emergencies Call Campus Police 502-2900

Call The Counseling Center @ (719) 502-4782

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