Student Disability Service

Emergency contact for staff

If you are a member of University Staff who is concerned about a student who you feel may be at risk of harm to themselves or others this page will provide you with advice on what you can do and who you can contact for help.

If you are a member of staff who is concerned that a student may be at risk of harm to him or herself, or others, for one or more of the following reasons: the student…

  • May be at risk of serious self-harm.
  • Is violent or threatening violence to people or property.
  • Has completely stopped functioning.
  • Seems very disorientated and out of touch with reality.
  • Is behaving out of character.
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts.

Please follow the guidance below. You may also wish to refer to the leaflet “Helping Distressed Students”.

If the student will accept help

In office hours

Refer the student directly to his or her GP, or the Student Counselling Service (0131 650 4170). If possible, arrange for the student to be accompanied.

Inform the appropriate person (e.g. Student Adviser, Personal Tutor, Postgraduate Supervisor or Head of School)

Out of hours

Call the student’s GP, if closed contact NHS 24 (08454 24 24 24). If all else fails, call the emergency services, call the Mental Health Assessment Service (0131 537 6000) or contact University Security on 2222.

Next day, advise the Student Adviser, Personal Tutor or Postgraduate Supervisor, who will check whether further action is required.

If stuck, you can phone non-emergency security (502257) for advice.

If the student will not accept help

In office hours

Contact the Student’s GP, or, if unknown, the University Health Service (0131 650 2777) will offer advice, or call the emergency services or Security on 2222.

Student Counselling Service (0131 650 4170) will offer advice.

If in University accommodation, Security (2222) can sometimes provide help.

Out of hours

Call the student’s GP, if closed contact NHS 24 (08454 24 24 24). If all else fails, call the emergency services, call the Mental Health Assessment Service (0131 537 6000) or call Security on 2222.

Next day, inform the student’s GP if you can (University Health Service 0131 650 2777) or the Personal Tutor or Postgraduate Supervisor.

In all situations

  • Try to stay calm.
  • Engage with the student if possible, but put safety first.
  • Prioritise your own safety and that of others at the scene.
  • Make sure you debrief by talking through the situation with a colleague or the Student Counselling Services.
  • Keep a written record.

Guidance on communicating with student emergency contacts

On some occasions, it is appropriate to contact a student’s emergency contact if you have exhausted attempts to contact the student, or in an emergency where there is an urgent risk to the student’s immediate health or safety.  You must make sure that you have considered whether the situation warrants this, and have sought the appropriate authority to make contact from a designated ‘Authoriser’, as listed in the guidance below.