Psychological support for crisis and critical incidents

Personal crises

A personal crisis or mental health emergency is an emotional or behavioural crisis that requires same-day or immediate attention by a mental health professional.

This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Significant changes in behaviour where the person does not seem themselves
  • Disruptive symptoms that interfere with daily life
  • Direct or indirect expressions of intent to harm self or others
  • Experience of a traumatic event or assault.

Psychological support

During business hours:

If you or a University student you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please call Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 03 8344 6927, and identify the situation as needing urgent attention.

After hours:

If you are in an emergency, please call 000 and/or University Security on 03 8344 6666. Our emergencies page has more information on support options available.

Critical incidents

A critical incident is any situation that affects a number of University students or staff, that may cause a traumatic reaction involving a strong physical and emotional response.

Examples of critical incidents likely to affect the University community may include:

  • Sudden deaths
  • Serious accidents
  • Assaults
  • Natural disasters

Psychological support

A traumatic event can happen to you directly, to someone you are close to, or you may have witnessed it.

In situations where the incident is related to University life, CAPS has a systematic response plan. This includes liaison with other University services following standard emergency procedures.

During business hours:

CAPS are available to see students and staff in the event of a critical or traumatic incident. Please call CAPS at 03 8344 6927 and identify the situation as needing urgent attention.

After hours:

If you are in an emergency, please call 000 and/or University Security on 03 8344 6666. Our emergencies page has more information on support options available.

Dealing with trauma

When something traumatic happens, it can be overwhelming and emotionally distressing. People can react in different ways, including experiencing strong feelings of sadness, fear, anger, guilt, or grief.

It can be helpful to learn more about:

The Phoenix Australia Centre for Post-Traumatic Mental Health also provides free downloadable fact sheets about trauma responses and evidence-based treatments.

Most people recover with the support of family and friends. However, if you find that your response to a traumatic event continues to impact on your everyday life or relationships in an ongoing way, it is worth seeking professional help.