How Schools and Crisis Service Can Work Together

How Schools Can Most Effectively Utilize Crisis Services

When Schools Should Call Crisis…

1. When a client is suicidal, homicidal or irrational due to drugs or psychiatric/emotional issues.

2. Call crisis early and often. It is better for school staff to talk to a crisis worker about a possible situation and get ideas about solutions than to wait and worry until the situation is escalated.

3. When there is an immediate need to understand a person’s mental status and mental health needs.

4. When acuity or time constraints prevent the school from being able to meet the person’s needs.

5. When a student is released by the school to the family with a recommendation for follow-up with crisis.  Crisis can then contact the family to follow-up, if they are expecting it.  

6. Crisis can be called into a school in a scheduled, preventative way to provide education or outreach.. 

7. Crisis can be called if the family would like to access or coordinate services for their child.

When Schools Should Not Call Crisis…

1. Threatening words are sometimes taken out of context ; i.e., "kill, hurt, shoot, die."  While these are flags for concern, the school should investigate enough to understand what the student meant before calling.

2. When the youth is actively harming himself or others, the police / EMS should be called first.  Crisis will see the youth when he or she is in a secure / safe place after receiving any medical treatment needed.

3.  Requesting a “risk assessment” is out of the scope of the crisis worker’s practice.  Crisis cannot determine if it is safe to have a youth enrolled in school, nor can they predict future behavior.

When Schools Call Crisis, It Is Helpful To Know…

1. Has the family been notified?

2. Does the child know that crisis has been called?

3. Is the child / family willing to meet?

4. Are other agencies involved?  Have they been made aware that Crisis has been called? 

5. Where is the best place to meet (a private place at school, at the home, the crisis office, the ER, etc.).  The School Resource Officer can transport the student to the ER.

6. Has the school noticed any changes with the student?

7.  How did school become aware of the situation?  Did the student tell any friends how they were feeling?

8. Are there other vulnerable students who have contact with this youth?


Developed by Community Health and Counseling Services Crisis Services, September 2008.  Funding was made possible in part by grant agreement award number SM57396 from SAMHSA. The views expressed  not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


CHCS Mission

Community Health and Counseling Services will provide community health services that are needed and valued by the communities and individuals we serve.