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Seton Hall University
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Help for Faculty

SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 973-275-Help (4357) 
Call or text 988 to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat online at
Or text Talk to 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line.  
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

As a faculty member, you can play a key role in suicide prevention. Since students often develop close positive relationships with staff, teachers, and other university personnel, you may be in a position to help respond when a student is struggling.

 What is a Crisis?

A psychological crisis is when an individual is threatening to harm or kill themselves or others, has experienced a recent death of a loved one, a recent traumatic event such as an assault, or is losing touch with reality. 

 Signs a Student Needs Immediate Help

  • Directly saying they want to die or kill themselves: “I just want to die”, “I should just kill myself”
  • Saying they are a burden to others: “They’d be better off without me”
  • Expressing hopelessness: “It’s never going to get better” “What’s the point of being here?” “There is no reason to live”, “I’d be better off dead”
  • Indirectly talking about suicide: “I can’t take it anymore”, “I just want to sleep forever or disappear” 
  • Mentioning self-harming behavior or showing signs of self-injury. 

 What to Do in a Crisis

  • Stay Calm: When working with someone in crisis, it is often helpful to maintain a calm, steady presence. Speak slowly and clearly.  This can often help the student feel more relaxed.
  • Actively Listen: When working with students in crisis, remember to be an active listener. Remove distractions (paperwork, phone calls) and give the student your full undivided attention. This is not a time for judgment or directives. Simply listen and offer comfort and support.
  • Remind the student that they are not alone and connect them with CAPS by personally walking them over. You can also call CAPS at (973) 761-9500 for additional assistance.
  • If they refuse campus services, call Public Safety or 911 and stay with them until help arrives. 

Additionally, members of our community can express their concerns to the university's Behavioral Intervention Team, an interdepartmental working group that receives and responds to concerns about individual students and alerts that a student may be a disruption or threat to the campus community. For those that may be unsure if a student is in crisis, or how best to support students in distress, CAPS is also available for consultation.

 Contacting CAPS

  • During regular office hours, Monday-Friday 8:45 a.m.- 4:45 p.m., call 973-761-9500 or drop-in to CAPS in Mooney Hall Room 27 to speak with a counselor. Do not use e-mail in an emergency situation. 
  • Students with an urgent need to speak with a counselor may also choose to contact the SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 973-275-Help (4357). This service is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week . Students can also contact the national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988, or chat
  • After Hours and on weekends, students experiencing a psychological emergency should call CAPS at 973-761-9500 or the SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 973-275-Help (4357) to speak immediately with a trained mental health counselor. 

Create a Culture that Supports a Student’s Mental Health

College is a stressful time for many students. They are adjusting to a new environment, facing academic pressure, figuring out their identities and may experience social challenges. Those are all reasons it’s important to foster a culture that promotes and supports mental health. 

Set the Tone of Your Classroom
Instead of diving right into the material for the day, take a moment to share a funny story, write an inspirational quote on your whiteboard, or even do a 2-minute guided meditation. This helps students relate to you as a human instead of only their professor. Before they leave, ask everyone how they are feeling about the material covered. If you have a long class, take a short break in the middle to give everyone a chance to move around. If you know students are in a high-stress time, like final exams, give them a little extra support.

Add Mental Health to Your Syllabus
Let them know from the beginning that you are supportive of their mental health by including information in your syllabus to guide them to campus services if they are struggling.  

Sample Text for Your Syllabus 

Adding a simple statement to your syllabus is a great way to let your students know that you care about their well-being and to share valuable resources with them. Here are two examples shared with us from other Universities through the Education Advisory Board (EAB) that we have adapted for your use: 

  • If you find yourself struggling with your physical or mental health this semester, please feel free to approach me. I try to be flexible and accommodating. You may also contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) which provides confidential services at no cost to Seton Hall students. Call (973) 761-9500 or visit their website for more information. If you are in crisis, contact The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 or chat with them online. The Crisis Text Line is also available. Text SCHOOL to 741-741.  
  •  As a student you may experience a range of issues can cause barriers to learning. These might include strained relationships, high levels of stress, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, or loss of motivation. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can help with these and other issues you may experience. Help is always available. You can learn about free, confidential mental health services available to you by calling (973) 761-9500 or visiting their website. If you are in crisis, contact The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 or chat with them online. The Crisis Text Line is also available. Text SCHOOL to 741-741.  

Encourage Connection
A sense of belonging and connectedness can be protective factors when it comes to suicide prevention. Give students opportunities to work together one-on-one or in a small group and facilitate collaborative discussions during class. Use class time to connect with students yourself as well. Be sure to learn everyone’s names and use their preferred pronouns. Also check in with them to see if they are understanding the material and offer support if needed. By being personable in class, students are more likely to come to you if they are in a crisis. 

Set Reasonable Deadlines
While students need to learn time management skills, don’t increase a student’s stress level by making deadlines that are overwhelming. If you can give them a few extra days to complete an assignment, it may help alleviate some stress for those who are struggling. Sleep is critical to mental health and if students are losing sleep to meet deadlines, they are compromising their emotional wellbeing. 

Allow Mental Health Days
Consider adding an excused absence to your class to allow students to take a mental health day if they need it. If you choose to do this, be sure to outline the policy in your syllabus. 

 Signs a Student is Struggling

The Jed Foundation outlines the following warning signs that may signal a student is struggling and needs support:

  • Chronic tardiness and/or lack of attendance
  • Incomplete assignments
  • Diminished motivation
  • Poor hygiene
  • Irritable, argumentative, and/or disruptive behavior in class
  • Low and/or elevated mood
  • Withdrawal from peers
  • Excessive anxiety, worry or panic
  • Suspected alcohol or drug use
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties focusing and concentrating
  • Self-destructive thoughts or behaviors

Don’t underestimate any of these signs. Early intervention can prevent a full-blown mental health crisis.

Responding to a Student in Distress

Each Action Step Provides a Script for Communicating with Distressed Students 

Say What You See 

"Hi ____, I just wanted to check in. I've noticed ____ and wanted to see if you wanted to talk about it." 

Show You Care 

"I care about your well-being, so I just wanted to check in on to see how you're doing. I want to know how I can be the most helpful for you." 

Hear Them Out 

"That sounds hard, how is that affecting your life?" 

Know Your Role 

"I'm sorry you're going through this, and honored that you've been vulnerable with me..." 

Connect Them to Help  

"Reaching out to ____ for the first time can be a little confusing. Would you like help connecting to ____ ?" 

 Additional Resources


Call 973-761-9500
If you’re not feeling your best despite your self-help efforts, it’s time to reach out for support. You can contact CAPS during regular office hours=, Monday-Friday 8:45 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. or drop-in to CAPS in Mooney Hall Room 27 to speak with an on-call counselor.


Crisis Hotline

Call 973-275-HELP
Students with an urgent need to speak with a counselor may also choose to contact the SHU 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 973-275-Help (4357). This service is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


In an Emergency

Call 911
If you or a friend are having serious thoughts of killing yourself or hurting someone else go to the nearest Emergency Room or call 911.


Great Minds Dare to Care logo. Great Minds Dare to Care is a University-wide collaborative suicide prevention initiative designed to foster shared responsibility for building a community of care at Seton Hall University. 
Visit the Great Minds Dare to Care website.