Mental Health Emergency/Crisis Situation(s)

During business hours

MAIN CAMPUS: Come directly to the Counseling and Prevention Resource Center (CPRC), located on the first floor of Trustee Hall (just past the elevators and Testing Center).  If no one is available to greet and assist you or you are not able to come to the CPRC, call Campus Security at 641-683-5300 to obtain mental health support. 

NORTH CAMPUS: Call Campus Security at 641-683-5300 or come directly to the Counseling and Prevention Resource Center (CPRC), located on the MAIN campus in the first floor of Trustee Hall (just past the elevators and Testing Center).  If no one is available to greet and assist you, call Campus Security to obtain mental health support. 

CENTERVILLE CAMPUS: Call Campus Security at 641-683-5300 to obtain mental health support.  You may also call the Mobile Crisis Team at 1-844-430-8520 and a team of two crisis response workers will meet you within an hour. 

When you call, please state if possible, “I am experiencing a mental health crisis and need assistance.” 

after business hours

At any campus location, you may: 

  • Call Campus Security at 641-683-5300 to obtain mental health support. (campus)
  • Call Southern Iowa Mental Health Center’s Crisis Line at 641-682-8772. (local)
  • Call River Hill’s Community Health Center’s Crisis Line at 641-856-4400. (local)
  • Call the Mobile Crisis Team at 1-844-430-8520 and a team of two crisis response workers will meet you within an hour. Parental consent is required for minors.  This is a free service, however you must be physically located in Wapello, Mahaska, Davis, or Van Buren counties.  (local)
  • Call Your Life Iowa at 1-855-581-8111, text 1-855-895-8398 or online chat at (state)
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. (national)
  • Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to (national)

When you call, please state if possible, “I am experiencing a mental health crisis and need assistance.”  Please note, crisis and text lines are typically available 24/7 (365), so they may be utilized during business hours as well. 

You may also:

  • Call the Crisis Intervention Services - Sexual Assault Advocacy and Support:  24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-270-1620 or 24/7 Emergency Housing Crisis Line at 844-673-5499 
  • Call the Family Crisis Center - Domestic Violence Advocacy and Support:  24/7 Crisis Line at 800-464-8340
  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE;
  • Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE;
  • Call The Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386;
  • Call the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, text 838255,
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255(TALK) or Crisis Text Line 741741
  • Call the Veterans 24/7 Crisis Line (for all veterans, service members, national guard and reserve and their family members/friends) at 800-273-8255(TALK) and Press 1. 
  • Call the Trevor Project LGBTQ Crisis Line at 1-866-488-7386 or Crisis Text Line 678678
  • Call the BlackLine BIPOC Support Line at 1-800-604-5841
  • Call the Focus on Recovery Helpline (alcohol/drugs) at 800-374-2800 or 800-234-1253
  • Call the Ottumwa Police Department (OPD) at 641-683-0661 (non-emergency) or 911
  • Call the Centerville Police Department at 641-437-7100 (non-emergency) or 911


At any time, DAY OR NIGHT, you may go to:

  • Southern Iowa Mental Health Center’s Crisis Unit at 1527 Albia Road, Ottumwa, IA 52501. This is a voluntary admittance for individuals 18 and older.  You can, but do not have to call first, at 641-682-8772.
  • The Ottumwa Regional Health Center Emergency Room, 1001 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Ottumwa, IA 52501, 641-684-2300
  • The Mercy Medical Center Emergency Room, 1 Old Hwy 5, Centerville, IA 52544, 641-437-4111
  • Another local emergency room.

If you are a resident student at Indian Hills, currently living in one of the dorms, please notify Campus Security or hall staff should you decide to go to any of the above locations.  This information will be treated confidentially.


At times we may find ourselves concerned for someone else; and many times, are unsure of what to do or how to help.  Below are some resources to assist.

How can I tell if someone is experiencing a crisis or might be suicidal?   

Some signs that someone may be experiencing general emotional distress or in crisis include:

  • Change in behavior, mood
  • Change in appearance, hygiene
  • Change in sleeping or eating
  • Change in substance use
  • Change in work and/or school attendance and/or completion
  • Isolation/withdrawal from friends, family
  • Talking about suicide or being preoccupied with thoughts about death

If you think a friend may be thinking about suicide you can:    

  • Approach your friend directly, at a time when you can speak in private, and say you are concerned/worried (“I’m concerned about you. If something is wrong, I’d like to help.”)
  • Give specific examples of their words and behaviors that you’re concerned about (“I’ve noticed you haven’t sat with us at lunch for the last several days.”)
  • Invite them to talk about it (“Would you like to talk about what’s going on?” “Are you ok?”). Then listen openly, without judgment or opinion, to what they have to say. 


What should I ask someone if I think they might be suicidal?

  • Ask directly if they are considering killing themselves. Ask more than once if the answer is unclear or if you feel uncertain about the response. (e.g., “Have you experienced any suicidal ideation?” “Have you been thinking about wanting to die?”  “Have you thought of not wanting to live anymore?” “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”)
  • Ask them if they have a plan for how they will attempt suicide. (“Have you thought about how you would do it?”)
  • Ask if they have considered when they will attempt suicide. (“Have you thought about when you would do it?”)
  • Ask if they have the means. (“Do you already have the items you would need?”  “Do you have access to obtaining the items you would need?”)
  • Ask if they have taken any steps toward implementing their plan.   


What should I do if the person says “yes”?

First, take any expressed suicidal intent seriously.  If the person says they’re thinking of killing themselves, and especially if they have a specific plan and a means of doing so, the best thing you can do for them is to not leave them alone and get help.  Implement any of the above measures at the top of this page.  Let them know you do not want them to be alone and that it would be best to speak with someone who knows how to help.  Ask who they might prefer to call, (i.e. campus security, an emergency contact, a crisis line, a crisis response team such as Mobile Crisis, etc.).  Offer to call for them or with them, if they do not want to call by themselves. 


What should I do if the person says “yes” but are not willing to contact any supports; and or says “no”, but you believe they are experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis situation?

If you suspect the person may be suicidal and in crisis but they are being vague or refusing to discuss it, it’s better to get help to be on the safe side.  The quickest way to get help is to call Campus Security at 641-683-5300.  Campus Security will be able to assist in obtaining mental health support.  Reminder, do not wait to get support or leave the person alone. 


What should I do if the person says “no” and is not experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis situation, but I am still concerned about them? 

Remind them that mental health struggles are treatable.  A great resource is the IHCC Counseling and Prevention Resource Center (CPRC) – they offer free, crisis services and/or short-term counseling, and have information to help refer individuals who may need or want services off-campus. 

  • You can offer to walk with them to the CPRC now or at a later time, or assist them in connecting with the CPRC via any one of the below:
  • You can also share any of the crisis or text lines listed at the top of this page so they have them if needed later.


What are some things to avoid doing?

There are a few things that aren’t so helpful when someone is in crisis.  These include: 

  • Don’t act like you have all the answers or offer clichés or simple advice (e.g., “Don’t worry, be happy”, “What you should do is…”).
  • Don’t promise to keep secrets – if someone says they will talk to you about an issue “only if you promise not to tell anyone,” it’s important to be up front in saying you cannot make that promise because you care about them and want them to get any help that they may need. Their life is most important.  You don’t want to keep a secret and regret it.
  • Don’t act shocked by what someone tells you.
  • Don’t assume the situation will resolve itself and not take action.
  • If someone is expressing thoughts of suicide, do not leave them alone to the best of your ability.
  • Do not put yourself in a dangerous situation, but rather leave and immediately call Campus Security or local law enforcement.


What should I do if I’m worried about someone and just not sure how to respond?

Staff at the CPRC are available to consult with any member of the IHCC community.  They can talk with you about what you’re observing, strategies for responding, and specific resources to share with the individual you are concerned about. 

Feel free to:

In addition to the above, if you are concerned by a friend’s Facebook posting, there are other ways to report and support a friend online.  Check out this video from Facebook to learn more. 

Ask CPRC staff about Mental Health First Aid courses (available annually) to learn more about supporting others in crisis! 




Watching a friend, student or family member struggle with emotional problems can be challenging and frightening.  You may wonder, “How can I tell if this is really serious?”  “How can I best help my friend?” or “What will the college do in a situation like this?”  Following is some information about common misperceptions about mental health and suicide, signs that someone is experiencing a crisis, ways to help, and campus resources.  (Adapted from Cornell College:  Counseling – Concerned about Friend). 

MYTH:  People who talk about suicide won’t actually attempt suicide.

FACT:  70-75% of people who attempt or commit suicide give some verbal or non-verbal clue about their intentions.  Some signs someone may be thinking about suicide include: 

  • Direct references to thoughts of suicide or death (“I wish I were dead”, “Everyone is/would be better off without me”).
  • Statements of intent or plans to attempt suicide.
  • Obtaining weapons or other means of committing suicide.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Saying good-bye.
  • Vague references to unusual thoughts (“I’ve been having stupid thoughts,” etc.).
  • Depression, or symptoms of depression.
  • Expressions of despair and hopelessness (“I don’t think things will get better”, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore”, “Life is pointless”).
  • Erratic attendance or neglect of usual responsibilities such as going to class or work.
  • Neglecting hygiene, appearance, or necessary functions such as eating and sleeping.
  • Withdrawal or isolation from social relationships and/or activities.
  • Extreme mood swings or changes in personality.
  • Impulsivity and/or violence.

MYTH:  Asking someone if they are considering suicide might put that thought into their head.

FACT:  Asking someone about suicide is not going to give them the idea if they haven’t already been thinking about it.  In fact, asking directly lets that person know that you are willing to hear about their pain and to help them. 

MYTH:  Once people start thinking or talking about suicide, there’s no way to stop them. 

FACT:  People who consider suicide don’t generally want to die – they just want their pain to stop. 

MYTH:  There is no connection between suicide and alcohol use. 

FACT:  Use of alcohol (or other drugs) can increase someone’s impulsivity while decreasing their inhibitions and ability to think rationally.  People who are drinking during or in response to an emotional crisis may be at greater risk for suicidal or other risky acts. 

MYTH:  The college kicks out students who have made suicide attempts.   

FACT:  Any time a student is a serious risk to themselves or others, including if a student has attempted suicide, the college’s first concern is to be sure that the student is safe, not to kick them out of school.  In many cases, the college may require documentation from a health professional who has evaluated the student to assess the student’s readiness to be in the academic environment and give recommendations for how the college can best support the student.  In the vast majority of cases, the college is going to work with that student to help get back on track academically and to make sure that a good support network and safety plan are in place.   


Contact Us

Counseling and Prevention Resource Center
Indian Hills Community College
Trustee Hall, First Floor

525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone: (641) 683-5152 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5152
Email: [email protected]