Helping Graduate Students in Crisis

From time to time a graduate student, or someone worried about a graduate student (such as a professor, family member or friend) may contact you about responding to a student in crisis. A crisis is something such as a serious injury or death, mental breakdown or suicidal comments, a missing person, a serious crime or attack, and the like. People in those situations are usually very concerned and unsure what to do to help.

There is a team of people at UBC (Crisis Intervention Team) that is experienced at dealing with student crises. It consists of medical, mental health, law enforcement, Campus Housing, and Faculty representatives. The Team members are immediately in touch by phone/email when necessary, and meet bi-weekly to help navigate these situations. They are able to obtain emergency appointments at Counselling Services and/or Student Health, and will work with graduate programs to manage the complex issues these situations usually involve.

Every situation is a bit different, but here is a general protocol for grad program staff when contacted by or about a student in crisis:

If the student or someone worried about a student is seeking help/information about a crisis situation that is NOT immediately life-threatening:

1) Obtain their name, contacting information, and name of the student in crisis.

2) Contact Brianne Howard at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (; 604.822.6965) and provide a detailed message about the situation.

3) If Brianne is away from the office, refer the person or send the information to Chad Hyson in the VP Students Office (; 604 822-1602).

4) Do not provide any information about the student to individuals calling from outside the University, except the RCMP.

If a student appears to be in an immediate, life-threatening situation:

1) Try to find out the student’s name, location and whether anyone is with them.

2) Ensure that 911 is called (either by you or the person making contact).

3) Inform Brianne Howard in G+PS ASAP, or away from the office, contact Chad Hyson in the VP Students Office (604 822-1602;

4) Summarize the occurrence in writing and email to Brianne Howard; cc to Chad Hyson.

Contact numbers:

  • Emergency: 911
  • Campus Security: 822.2222
  • Counselling Services: 822.3811
  • Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: 822.2848
  • Student Health Services: 822.7011  After hours: 822.7121
  • VP Students Office: 822.7011