Helping Yourself


When should I call a crisis hotline?

Call a crisis hotline if you need to talk to someone, but are not in immediate danger of hurting yourself or others.

Some common reasons people call:

  • Feeling depressed for a week or longer.
  • Experiencing things that may be unreal or bizarre (seeing, hearing or smelling things, and questioning whether others have the same experience).
  • Experiencing anxiety attacks and looking for ways to cope.
  • Having thoughts of suicide or violence.
  • The signs of depression become worse, including more or less sleep, over- or under-eating, poor concentration, no energy, no motivation, not doing well at school or work, isolating self, feeling no one understands or cares.
  • Wanting information about local services.
When should I call 911?

If you…

  • have made a specific plan
  • intend to attempt suicide

Call 911 or campus public safety at (503) 838-9000.

Tip: Use the word “crisis” so they know you need help now.

How much does counseling cost?

Counseling sessions at the Student Health & Counseling Center are free for all WOU students who are registered for at least 6 on-campus credits.

If you are unable to use the counseling center or would prefer to access services off campus, counseling costs range from $75 to $150 per session, though it may be covered by your health insurance.

Tip: If you’re concerned about medical costs, check if you’re eligible for Oregon Health Plan (Oregon’s Medicaid), which covers mental health counseling and medication (among other things).

Will anybody know what I say in counseling?

No. Every counseling session – whether at the Student Health & Counseling Center or elsewhere – is bound by the same HIPAA confidentiality guidelines. This means your counselor cannot disclose any information about you to anyone (including your parents) without written consent.

Confidentiality does not apply if you…

  • state intent to harm yourself or someone else
  • report current abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult or child
  • are in counseling as a result of a court order
  • are using mental illness as a defense in a criminal or civil action.

Helping Someone Else


How do I know if someone is actually suicidal?

You won’t always know if someone who talks about suicide intends to take their life. For this reason, take all suicide warning signs seriously. You don’t have to know how serious a person is to help them.

If you ask someone about suicide, does it put the idea into their head?

No. Asking someone about suicide is not harmful. Several studies examining this concern have fount that asking people about suicidal thoughts and behavior does not induce or increase suicidal thoughts. In fact, asking someone directly, “Are you thinking of killing yourself,” can be the best way to identify someone at risk for suicide.

Is suicide preventable?

Yes. Suicide can be highly preventable. Identifying and reaching out to those showing suicide warning signs is an essential first step. Reducing access to lethal means of self-harm is another important part of suicide prevention. This includes firearms and medications that are lethal at high doses.

However, not every suicide is preventable. It’s important to know that if someone you love and care about does end their life, you are not to blame. It does not mean that you missed something or should have done something different.

A large part of suicide prevention requires action at the societal level. This includes increasing awareness of mental health resources, reducing stigma around those seeking help, and promoting an inclusive and open community. And that’s what WOU’s Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion program is all about. 🙂

Faculty & Staff


A student shared something with me and asked me to keep it confidential, but am I required to report it?

Do not agree to keep information confidential because you may be legally required to break your word. If you are unsure whether or not the information is something you are required to report, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at 503-838-8221. In general, anytime you think a student may harm themselves or others, you are required to make a report.

If a student tells you something that you must report, be completely honest and transparent by telling them that you are mandated to report such information.

A student in my class seems distressed, what should I do?

If possible, try talking to the student privately about your concern. If you think the student would benefit from immediate attention, walk them over to the Student Health & Counseling Center.

If you don’t think the situation requires immediate attention, call the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at (503) 838-8221 or fill out the Student of Concern Form on their website. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs can reach out to WOU students who seem to be having difficulty and intervene before things reach a crisis level.

Where can I go if I want help?

WOU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) contracts with Cascade Centers to offer all WOU employees confidential counseling and other services. Three counseling visits per year are available at no charge to WOU employees, household members, and dependents.

Cascade offers face to face or phone sessions for problem identification, assessment, establishing outcome goals, recommendations, priorities, and actions needed to reach goals. Call 1-800-433-2320 to make an appointment or if you have questions about the program.

If you or someone you know may be in immediate danger because of suicidal thoughts, call 911 or campus public safety at (503) 838-9000.

If you are not in immediate danger, but need someone to talk to, please use one of the national suicide prevention lines.

1-800-273-8255

Text HOME to 741-741

If you want to talk to someone in person, you can go to one of the following drop-in clinics. Individuals in crisis are seen immediately.

Student Health & Counseling Center

Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

(503) 838-8396

345 Monmouth Ave N. Monmouth

(across from the library)

Psychiatric Crisis Center

Open 24/7

1 (888) 232-7192

1118 Oak St SE. Salem

Polk County Behavioral Health

Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

(503) 623-9289

1310 Main St E. Monmouth

see more locations