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Care Guide for Students in Distress

Emergencies - Medical and Behavioral:
Call 911 or Campus Police at 901.448.4444

University Health Services
Medical Urgent Care: 901.448-5630
Behavioral Health Urgent Care: 901.448-5630
After Hours (24/7): 901.541.5654

Student Assistance Program (SAP):
800.327.2255 (24/7)

For more information visit the University Health website.

For those administrators with PAVE access (Campus Counts or Judicial Action), go to PAVE to report necessary student information.

Contact: Dr. Michael Alston
901.448.5558 or 901.448.2133
Provided by the UTHSC Wellness Council.

Determine Level of Behavior

Once you have identified a student in distress, determine the level of behavior and use this document to help guide your response. If in doubt, follow procedure for the next higher level.

If you identify a medical, behavioral, or unsafe emergency situation, call 911 or Campus Police at 901.448.4444 immediately.

Level 1 - Mild Distress

LEVEL I - MILD DISTRESS: Behavior indicating something is wrong and assistance is needed.


  1. Deterioration of work
  2. Excessive absence
  3. Change in pattern of interaction (avoidance of participation, domination of discussion, etc.)

Behavioral and Emotional:

  1. Statements of distress
  2. More withdrawn or animated than usual
  3. Lack of responses to outreach


Decline of appearance, hygiene, and health
Falling asleep in class
Visible changes in weight

Other: Concern about a student by peers,
a gut-level reaction

Speak directly with the student privately and confidentially. Express concern. And/or contact appropriate resource below.

Consultation ResourcesQuestions about emotional and behavioral issues and getting help, call:

  • Student Behavioral Health: 901.448.5630
  • 24-7 Student Assistance Program: 800.327.2255
  • University Health Services: 901.448.5630
  • SASSI Counselor: 901.448.5056

AND/OR Administrative/Judicial procedural concerns, call:

Asst. Vice Chancellor Student Rights/ Student
Conduct Officer: 901.448.5558 or 901.448.2133 

Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Student
Affairs: 901.448.5070 or 901.448.8014

Academic and Student Resources
Allied Health Sciences: 901.448.5581
Dentistry: 901.448.6268
Graduate Health Sciences: 901.448.5538
Medicine: 901.448.5506
Nursing: 901.448.6125
Pharmacy: 901.448.6120

Educational Support: Student Academic Support Services (SASS): 901.448.5056

Level 2 - Significant Distress



  1. Repeated requests for special consideration (extensions/makeup exam)
  2. Extreme disorganization
  3. Written or artistic expression of violence, morbidity, isolation, withdrawal, hopelessness, depression, suicide, etc.
  4. Exaggerated or disproportionate response to grades/evaluations

Behavioral and Emotional:

  1. Angry outbursts, yelling, aggressive comments
  2. Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness, crying or tearfulness. Statements are made to the effect that the student is “going away for a long time.”


  1. Noticeable cuts, bruises or burns
  2. Smell of alcohol

Speak directly with the student privately and confidentially. Express concern and/or contact the appropriate resource. 
If safe, set limits for acceptable behavior in situation.
If necessary, ask the student or individual to leave the class or department for the remainder of the period or for a set amount of time. 

If necessary, discuss situation with Asst. Vice Chancellor for Student Rights/Student Conduct Officer 901.448.2133 or 901.448.5558 
OR Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 901.448.5070 or 901.448.8014.

Disciplinary Action may include oral or written warning, temporary exclusion from class, suspension, or expulsion. Student must receive written permission in order to be re-admitted to class.

 Level 3 - Severe Distress


  1. Highly disruptive behavior (aggression, violence)
  2. Loss of contact with reality (seeing or hearing things, fixed, false beliefs)
  3. Stalking behaviors
  4. Inappropriate communication (including threatening letters, revenge, e-mail messages, harassment)
  5. Overtly suicidal thoughts (including referring to suicide as a current option or in a written assignment
  6. Threats to harm self or others
  7. Inability to communicate clearly (garbled, slurred speech, disorganized thoughts)

Physically protect yourself and others if possible. Rule out the possibility of harm to self or others.

Contact Campus Police (901) 448-4444 or call 911 if off campus. Contact resources as appropriate.

Consultation/Intervention Resources

If student is on campus, call CAMPUS POLICE: 901.448.4444 - If student is off campus, call: 911
THEN Administrative/Judicial procedural concerns, call:
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Rights /Student Conduct Officer: 901.448.5558 or 901.448.2133
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs: 901.448.5070 or 901.448.8014
AND/OR Student Behavioral Health: 901.448.5630
After Hours 901.541.5654 
AND/OR College Deans Office.

Walk the student to University Health Services, 910 Madison, Suite 922.

After Hours Behavioral Health Emergencies

If the student is on campus, call CAMPUS POLICE: 901.448.4444 - If student is off campus, call: 911
University Health Services On-Call Provider for After Hours: 901.541.5654

Telepsychiatry services available - Call Dr. Iverson Bell, Psychiatrist at 404.934.9465

Student Assistance Program (SAP) offers phone counseling for emergencies: 800.327.2255, option 3

For students on the United student insurance plan - Lakeside Behavioral Health Hospital or St. Francis.

Suicide and Crisis Intervention: 901.274.7477
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK
Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center: 901.272.2020
Shelby County Crime Victims Center: 901.222.3950
Memphis Area Legal Services: 901.523.8822
Exchange Club Family Center: 901.276.2200

Students in Communities Other than Memphis

For ALL students, on or off the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC) campus, a University Health Services (UHS) on-call provider is available 24/7 for any urgent issue (medical or behavioral health). The number to call is 901.541.5654. If you are having an emergency, call 911 to access immediate help in your area. To reach a provider at UHS, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, call 901.448.5630. If a student needs to speak to someone regarding any mental health concern, on or off campus, they can call the Student Assistance Program (SAP) at 1.800.327.2255, option 3. This allows face-to-face appointments (or by telephone) with a counselor. There are providers available nation-wide. They can also assist with any emergency.

Students who need behavioral health medication management or urgent behavioral health care after 4:30 pm. while in communities other than Memphis can access telepsychiatry services provided by a UHS Psychiatrist. For urgent telepsychiatry services, call 901.541.5654 to reach the UHS provider on-call. If the student is on the United Student Insurance plan, another resource is the 24/7 Nurse Hotline. 877.643.5130 PIN: 211.

Knoxville: For students enrolled in one of the UTHSC audiology and speech pathology programs, or the pharmacy program and located in Knoxville, no additional actions are needed with respect to gaining access to student services on the UTK campus once fees are paid to the UTHSC. For medical students located in Knoxville, the following arrangements have been made for those needing care while in Knoxville: Students may go to the UTK Student Health Service for medical care and/or behavioral health care. They are to state that they are a UTHSC student and any fee should be billed to UT Health Science Center UTK Student Health Services - 865.974.3648, UTK Counseling Center - 865.974.2251.

Nashville: For students located in Nashville for a limited amount of time, special arrangements have been made to provide access to the Vanderbilt Student Health Center for medical care and urgent behavioral health care. Contact the Vanderbilt Student Health Center for an appointment at 615.322.2427. For behavioral health counseling, it is recommended that students contact SAP (at the above number). If you encounter any problems while at Vanderbilt, you may contact Dara L. Dixon at 615-343-6186.


Students in Chattanooga may access the UTC University Health Services for medical care and/or behavioral health care.  The services received there are not covered under any student health fees. All services are filed on your insurance. Students are responsible for bringing the required paperwork (visit the UTC student health website) and their insurance card at the time of their visit. They do file insurance for each appointment as a courtesy, but you are responsible for any fees related to your visit. Cash pay discounts are also available, but payment is expected at the time of service. If you cannot pay at the time of your visit, payment arrangements can be made. NO student is turned away for lack of payment.  You are able to receive behavioral health counseling at no charge to you through the Student Assistance Program. (See above)

  1. If needed, the appointment desk at 423-425-2266.
  2. UTC University Health Services website:
  3. UTC Counseling and Personal Development: 423-425-4438
Non-Emergency Care Resources

University Health Services (UHS) - The goal of UHS is to create and sustain a healthy campus community supporting the importance of a healthy social and learning environment. Contact UHS regarding medical care, immunizations, travel medicine, and behavioral health.
910 Madison Avenue, Suite 922
Phone: 901.448.5630

Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) - The SASSI has a primary goal of promoting student progress in the various programs offered by the UTHSC. It offers a variety of services to facilitate learning and enhance student performance.
General Education Building, Room BB9 (Basement)
Phone: 901.448.5056

Campus Recreation Center - The mission of Campus Recreation is to plan and promote life-long healthy lifestyle behaviors through active participation in comprehensive recreational, health, and fitness programs.
800 Madison Ave. Room 312. Phone: 901.448.5069

One-Stop-Shop - The following services are provided to students:
Financial Aid Services, Bursar Services, Registrar Services, and Parking
910 Madison, First Floor Commons Area
Phone: 901.448.7703

Campus Safety - For more information about campus safety, the campus alert system, and crime prevention, access the Campus Police website:

UTHSC Student Centerscope

May 26, 2022