Hotline aids urgent mental health crisis situations

A Crisis Intervention hotline offered by the Counseling and Psychological Services Department aims to facilitate faster responses to urgent student mental health situations with the support of University Police Department.

Different mental health crises require different levels of intervention, therefore a need grew for UPD’s aid in order to deliver students the appropriate level of care, Michael Barraza, associate director of CAPS said.

“When there’s the risk of harm, self harm or harm to others — that can look like so many different things,” Amanda De Loera, CAPS director said. “But if an individual might not be able to keep themselves safe or keep others safe? That’s definitely where we want to utilize the supports of the University Police Department.”

Barraza said nearly every mental health situation is case-by-case. In more serious cases, Crisis Intervention services will need to rely on campus law enforcement who can be there on-site to interact with the student, have a quicker approach and formulate a response or a plan based on the student’s behavior.

Counseling and Psychological Service hours span from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The contracted call center services company, ProtoCall, supports mental health emergencies that may fall beyond these times.

ProtoCall provides CAPS with documentation regarding the situations around calls they take, the information then gets documented in CAPS’ system and sometimes, there will be a need for hands-on approach.

“I think one thing that’s the core for us is that wellness matters at all times,” De Loera said. “That is why we have that ‘after hours’ component, to make sure that we are available for what may affect students or impact them in a different way.”

In turn, in cases where UPD is called for mental health emergencies rather than CAPS or Crisis Intervention services, there is also flexibility in directing these resources to the callers depending on the gravity or specific needs of a situation.

“This semester, I think we’re definitely seeing a flow of individuals who are thankfully aware what the resources available to them, and that they are accessing them when need be,” De Leora said.

The Campus Intervention and Counselor After Hours services are also available at (562) 985-4001 for students in cases of extreme anxiety or panic, extreme sadness, death of loved ones, experiencing traumatic events and more.

“Personally, as a student, I think that my support system, especially at a college campus is very important because it’s very easy to fall into a negative space,” said Jackeline Macias, undergrad psychology student who has taken advantage of CAPS counseling. “I really just want to emphasize that no one is going to judge anyone here [at CAPS] and this is just something that should be seen as our support system, too.”

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