Psychological/psychiatric crises (e.g. suicide attempts, self-mutilation behaviour, panic attacks, psychotic episodes) can lead to complex situations of unforeseeable consequences. Although these types of problems are not very common, the number of people who study or work at FCUL is very high, which means that we have to consider such an eventuality happening on Faculty grounds. Because there have been past instances, we've taken some steps to try to improve our response to these situations.
Given that some of these episodes require specific procedures, certain types of approach and help - albeit well-intended - may be inadequate and counterproductive in a particular situation. GAPsi psychologists are available to provide the necessary professional help in justifiable circumstances.
Please understand that it may not always be possible to get a hold of a GAPsi technician over the phone. Here are some procedures to follow in case of an emergency:
1st - During GAPsi opening hours, go to the GAPsi office (Room 4.1.25) and contact a GAPsi psychologist in person, or call extension 24125.
2nd - You may only interrupt ongoing appointments in the case of an emergency.
3rd - If you try to phone the office because of an emergency and the answering machine picks up, then phone security. A security officer will then go in person to GAPsi to notify a psychologist an emergency is going on.
4th - Give the security officer your name and phone extension, and a brief summary of the situation, so that the psychologist may appraise the situation before taking any further action.
5th - If for any reason you are not able to contact a psychologist or University security officer, and the situation is serious and beyond your control, then phone 112 - European Emergency number -, and after that contact a family member. Hospitalisation may be necessary.
6th - While help is on its way, the best thing you can do is to remain calm and patient, be willing to help, and show acceptance and empathy. More aggressive postures, such as assuming a confrontational stance, are not usually adequate. It is more beneficial to say something like: "I'm here by your side. I'm listening and I'll try to help," or "I want to stay here with you because I'm concerned and I want to give you my support," than to say something like "Never mind, it'll soon pass" or "I know how you feel and what you need is to be strong." If there are people near the person who is suffering the episode who are in, or have a history of, conflict with this person, then they should leave the scene.
Please Note: You can also contact the Safety, Health and Sustainability Office.
These procedures should only be put in motion in situations that are complex or severe enough, and when those involved are incapable of effectively dealing with it.