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EWU Self-Harm Response Plan

Eastern Washington University believes it is important to foster an environment that encourages students to maintain a standard of responsibility for self-care (i.e., the ability to respond effectively to one's emotional and physical needs). However, some students who are distressed engage in behaviors that impact their welfare, as well as the welfare of the campus community. These behaviors may require further assessment by appropriate professionals to ensure the safety of the student, as well as promote more adaptive coping strategies. Personally destructive behaviors simply cannot be ignored.

Eastern has developed several protocols to assist students of concern, particularly those who engage in self-harm or suicidal behaviors. The Dean of Students' Office and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) participate in coordinated efforts to engage these students with appropriate campus and community resources (feel free to consult with either office if you are concerned about a student or have questions regarding how to proceed).

If you are aware of actual self-harm behavior(s), you are strongly encouraged to make a report to the Dean of Students for consideration of appropriate options to ensure the safety of the identified student (e.g., a potentially suicidal student may be directed to complete a safety assessment on or off campus).

Options for Eastern community members—

  • Talk with the distressed student and offer CAPS as an option.
  • Walk the student over to CAPS (225 Martin Hall), if you are comfortable doing so.
  • Initiate self-harm prevention protocol for suicidal student by contacting Dean of Students (509-359-7924).
  • Submit Student Concern/Incident Report Form online (not for imminent risk or concerns).
  • Contact First Call For Help (509-838-4428) or Frontier Behavioral Health (509-838-4651) for after-hours consultation.
  • Call 911 for any imminent suicide threat.

When to Report to the Dean of Students—

A report should be made to the Dean if the student has engaged in any of the following self-harm/suicidal behaviors:

  • Suicidal ideation: having thoughts of suicide or of taking actions to end one's life. Suicidal ideation can be vague or specific, and infrequent or persistent.
  • Significant self-harm behaviors: recurrent or severe acts of self-harm or incapacity to effectively care for oneself (cutting behaviors, starvation, etc.).
  • Expression of suicidal intent: public announcement of intent to die.
  • Suicide threat: verbalizing ideation, intent and means to follow through on a suicide attempt. This includes preparation of means (e.g., purchasing a gun, stockpiling pills, etc.) or practicing how one would carry out their intent (e.g., putting bullets into a gun, holding a knife over one's wrist, etc.).
  • Suicide attempt: the act or gesture in which a person engages in life threatening behavior(s) with the intent of jeopardizing or ending his/her own life.

Please note that Eastern's philosophy is pro-continued enrollment, with coordinated efforts to increase coping such that a successful adaptation to the college environment can be achieved. This is only challenged by the student's actual behavior after being engaged with appropriate professional resources (e.g., multiple suicide attempts or a general unwillingness to assume responsibility for self-care).

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