Counseling Center Crisis-Line

Cishella Durling: Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Student Affairs podcast series. My name is Cishella Durling and I will be your host today. I am very excited to introduce to you all Beth Simon, a psychologist here at the University of Louisville’s Counseling Center. Today, we’re going to be talking about the Counseling Center’s Crisis-Line. And we’re so grateful that Beth has taken the time to come and talk with us today about this service the Counseling Center offers. We’re going to go ahead and jump right in, and Beth if you tell us about the Crisis-Line and what its purpose is, that would be great.

Beth Simon: Yeah, I would love to. Thanks so much for having me on. Before I get started, I want to acknowledge that it’s really my understanding that President Schatzel and Dr. Mardis, our Dean of Students, and his office have been strong supporters of this initiative. So first I would like to extend my thanks to those folks who’ve been so instrumental in bringing this project to life. And that absolutely includes our interim director, Dr. Geeta Gulati. She’s been so helpful in getting this started. It’s been a lot of work for all involved and I really appreciate that.

Cishella Durling: Yes, thank you.

Beth Simon: So this resource went live at the end of October. It’s a really new service for the campus. The Crisis-Line is an extension of the University Counseling Center. It’s fairly seamless. You can reach that line by calling our regular Counseling Center phone number. So that is 502-852-6585. If you call during the business day, you’ll reach our front office staff most likely, and they’ll speak directly with you. If you call after the Counseling Center is technically closed, you’ll have the option of leaving us a voicemail if you have a non-urgent issue or you can press 2 and speak to a live human who’s a trained counselor and can be there to support folks in times of crisis. So, the best thing about this is, I think one of the best features, is that there is no new phone number. It's just the Crisis-Line and it’s the same thing as the regular Counseling Center phone number. So no new numbers, no new information, you’re still calling the same place.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful. And I do appreciate that. That it’s easy and the number has been kept the same. It makes it even more accessible for students. So, what sort of situations might warrant a student reaching out to the Crisis-Line?

Beth Simon: Crisis does have a fairly broad definition. The most obvious in my mind is any situation where someone feels they are at risk—their safety is at risk. Whether that is at risk for harming themselves, at risk for harming others, if they are unfortunately experiencing risk from someone else harming them, the Crisis-Line can absolutely help provide resources to keep folks safe in those situations. Additionally, if someone’s going through a situation where they feel like they need support right now, and they can’t wait until the next day, they can’t wait until an appointment they might have in the future, but they really need that support in this moment, that’s also a good time to call the Crisis Line.

Cishella Durling: Wonderful, and I know that the students who utilize that Crisis-Line do really appreciate in those moments of crisis, that there’s somebody to hear them out and support them. So, why does the Counseling Center offer this Crisis-Line service?

Beth Simon: Well, so many reasons really. I think the first is that while other community-wide crisis lines exist, of course, everyone should feel free to use 988, everyone should feel free to use other hotlines and x-lines that they know, this one really functions as an extension of the Counseling Center at the university. And so, what that means is that the person answering the phone, knows the university’s community. They know the resources that might be on campus to help specifically our students. Whereas if you call a more local line, you’re going to get local resources, but not campus resources. Also, we get that information here. It can be referrals to the Dean of Students, they can support folks by getting them connected to the Student Success Center, other places like that. So, if somebody’s already working with the Counseling Center, we get that information to bridge that gap. So that’s one of the reasons we set this up. Another is that we really understand that crisis is time sensitive. People can’t hold on to their crisis for very long periods of time. So, having readily available resources, support, intervention, is absolutely key to good outcomes. And we also know that having support, in the form of a human being who’s there to listen, can also be really helpful and important and so, we want to make that more readily accessible to our students. So, that’s the purpose of it and we’re hoping that it will serve as a support to both the students and also to people who are concerned about students, whether that’s Housing, friends of persons who may be in crisis, if a professor know about a crisis, this will be an easy place for them to turn to and trust and know that the person speaking with them is aware of the kind of a campus and the situation that we have here at the University of Lousiville.

Cishella Durling: Absolutely. And I do think that this a great point is that they understand the community and the Counseling Center staff can really connect those students to a bunch of different resources. So, thank you. So, I guess my last question, to wrap this up, is what other resources does the counseling center offer students during times of crisis beyond the Crisis Line?

Beth Simon: Absolutely. So, we do have walk in hours of course, Monday through Friday, about 9:00 to 4:00 or so. So, students are encouraged to just walk right into the center if they need to be seen. And we also hope that some of our other services that we have will prevent acute crisis. So, we do have individual counseling sessions; there's sometimes a wait for those. We also have therapeutic and support groups available as well and to manage concerns like anxiety, depression, grief, and so if we can kind of get started working with someone, even if that means giving relevant referrals before they get to crisis, we're hoping that it can be helpful to avoid that situation all together. So, we're here in person, 9:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday, and then we also have some kind of preventative measures, as well.

Cishella Durling: And we do appreciate all of the hard work that Counseling Center does to support students during times of crisis. And thank you so much, Beth, for taking the time to tell us about the Crisis-Line that the Counseling Center offers. So, we're going to go ahead and wrap this up with did you know that the Student Success Center offers a variety of programs to help undergraduate students succeed? You can go ahead and check them out at Alright, everybody. Thanks again for tuning in to another episode of the Student Affairs Podcast series, and we'll catch you next time.


Student Affairs

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University of Louisville

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