Helpful Information

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Tips for Recognizing Persons in Distress

At one time or another everyone feels upset or distressed. However, there are three levels of concern which, when present over a period of time, suggest that the problems are greater than the "normal" ones. It is important to consider each type of behavior in context for the individual in question. Some examples for each level of concern follow:

Troubling: Causes us to feel alarmed, upset, or worried for a person's well being.

  • Changes in academic performance in the classroom
  • Disjointed speech or writings
  • Persistent sadness or unexplained crying
  • Change in patterns of social interaction
  • Changes in physical appearance or personal hygiene
  • Problems concentrating and remembering things or making decisions

Disruptive: Interferes with or disrupts the educational process of other students or the normal functions of the University.

  • Vague threats to self or others
  • Demanding, verbally abusive, or intimidating behavior
  • High levels of irritability or inappropriate excitement
  • Loss of contact with reality (seeing hearing things that are not there, beliefs or actions at odds with reality)

Threatening: Typically leaves us feeling frightened and in fear for our safety or the safety of others.

  • Physical confrontations or attacks
  • Direct threats of harming self or others
  • Displays a weapon
  • Sends threatening correspondence

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What Can You Do To Help

Responses to Troubling Behavior:

  • Initiate a private, nonconfrontive conversation with the person about your concerns
  • Identify options available to the individual and make referrals to campus resources for help
  • Assist the individual with accessing the departments to which you have referred
  • Make sure the person understands what action is necessary and make plans to follow up with them

Responses to Disruptive Behavior:

  • Verbally ask that the disruptive behavior stop
  • If behavior does not stop, ask the person to leave the area, or leave yourself if necessary
  • Inform person of the expected behavior changes, timeline for changes, and the consequences should behavior not change by that time
  • If possible, discuss the reasons for the disruptive behavior and refer to a department with expertise in that area
  • Document the interactions

Responses to Threatening Behavior:

  • Immediately contact University Police at 911 or (316) 978-3450
  • If it involves a student, also inform the Campus Life and University Relations Office
  • If it involves a staff member of the University, also inform the department chair/director or Human Resources
  • Consult with the Counseling & Testing Center to debrief and assist you once the initial crisis is resolved

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Responding to Suicidal Concerns

When a person makes any reference to suicide, threat of suicide, or an attempt at suicide, a judgment should be made by a mental health professional about the seriousness of a possible suicidal thought or behavior.

References to or threats of self harm should be treated seriously. Mental health evaluations and treatment are available at the Counseling & Testing Center at (316) 978-3440.

Suicide attempts are first and foremost a medical emergency. If dangerous or suicidal behavior appears imminent or has already occurred, contact University Police at (316) 978-3450 or dial 911.

To Save a Life, Remember QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer)

Question the person about suicide
Persuade the person to get help
Refer for help

For more information, you can pursue QPR and Mental Health First Aid trainings.

To learn more about suicide prevention, check out WSUWeSupportU.

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What to Do as a Survivor of Sexual Assault

Remember, you are not to be blamed and you are not alone. Nothing you did can cause a sexual assault, including having a prior relationship with the person or using alcohol and/or drugs. We believe you and we are here to help you.

If you have been sexually assaulted, these are some things that you can do:

1. Ensure immediate safety

Go to a safe place immediately and call someone you can trust and who can be with you, such as a family member or a friend.

2. Seek medical care

If you have been sexually assaulted, get medical attention as soon as possible at the WSU Student Health Services and/or a local emergency room. Even if you are not planning on making a police report, it is important to get a full physical examination to identify and treat physical injuries and determine the risks for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI). The health care provider will discuss with you any concerns about possible pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and prevention treatment options. Pregnancies may be prevented by taking emergency contraception within 3 to 5 days of the assault. Some STI and HIV can be prevented if you seek treatment as soon as possible. HIV can be prevented if you are assessed to be at high risk of contracting HIV and if the treatment is started within 72 hours. Evidence on the assault can also be collected and stored if you need time to decide if you want to report the crime.

For physical injuries, testing for and preventing pregnancies and STI (excluding evidence collection):

WSU Student Health Services
Location: Ahlberg Hall, 1845 Fairmount Wichita, KS
Phone number: 316-978-3620
Hours: Open Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Services: Student Health Services offers confidential medical services and advocacy work (e.g., front-line psychological support and referrals) following HIPAA and FERPA privacy rules. Professional clinical staff will assess your needs and work with you to help decide your options. Services available include first aid treatment for physical injuries such as bruises, emergency contraception, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI) including follow up testing. Student Health does not have the resources to conduct evidence collection, but if you chose to have evidence collected, the staff will provide you with the necessary contact information and refer you to the local emergency room for SANE/SART services.

For physical injuries, testing for and preventing pregnancies and STI, and preserving of evidence (whether or not you want to report the assault):

Via-Christi St. Joseph’s Hospital SANE/SART Program
Location: 3600 E. Harry Wichita, KS
Phone number: 316-689-5252 
Hours: 24/7

Wesley SANE/SART Program
Location: 550 N. Hillside Wichita, KS
Phone number: 316-962-9122
Hours: on-call 24/7

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and Sexual Assault Response Team Services (SANE/SART) utilizes registered nurses specifically trained to provide a thorough assessment of patients, help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, collect forensic evidence, photo-document and diagram all injuries and connect patients to resources they may need once they leave the hospital. The information and evidence will be kept confidential unless you decide to report the assault.

3. How to preserve evidence

Physical evidence of the assault must be collected for preservation up to 96 hours of the assault. The evidence can be kept up to 5 years. Evidence collection can only be done by the SANE/SART Programs at the Via-Christi St. Joseph’s Hospital and Wesley Medical Center. Having the evidence collected does not obligate you to take legal actions against the perpetrator. However, it does offer you the option to do so should you decide to press charges at a later time. While this may be difficult, writing down as many details as you can remember from the incident, including a description of the assailant, can help in criminal charges if you decide to do so in the future.

Via-Christi St. Joseph’s Hospital SANE/SART Program
Location: 3600 E. Harry Wichita, KS
Phone number: 316-689-5252 
Hours: 24/7

Wesley SANE/SART Program
Location: 550 N. Hillside Wichita, KS
Phone number: 316-962-9122
Hours: on-call 24/7

If you choose to preserve any physical evidence, you need to take note of the following before you go to the hospitals:

1. Do not wash your hands or face.
2. Do not bathe, shower, or douche.
3. Do not brush your teeth.
4. Do not change clothes.  If necessary, put clothing in separate paper (not plastic) bags.
5. Do not straighten up the area where the assault took place, including washing sheets or couch cushions.
6. Do not use the toilet (you can save a urine sample in a jar with a lid on it).
7. Do not drink (especially soda pop or alcohol).

4. Seek emotional and psychological support

Whether you decide on making a police report, this is a traumatic event and you will benefit from getting emotional and psychological support. Talk to someone whom you can trust – a friend, a family member, or even a staff/faculty. If you do talk to a staff/faculty, s/he is obligated to inform the University. The University will respond to the situation but it will not trigger a criminal investigation. The ultimate choice, whether to pursue criminal prosecution, is yours to make.

There are other confidential options to get emotional and psychological support. You can get crisis intervention, process what happened to you, develop safety plans, and learn how to cope with the impact of an assault through counseling at the WSU Counseling Testing Center or at the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.

Counseling and Testing Center
Location: Grace Wilkie Hall 320, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS  67208
Phone number: (316) 978-3440
Hours: Monday – Thursday 8am to 7pm; Friday 8am to 5pm

After office hours, you can contact
Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center
24 Hour Crisis Line
(316) 263-3002 or 1-877-927-2248 (toll free)

5. Reporting the assault

Reporting the assault to law enforcement is your choice. It is a difficult decision as many factors may weigh into your decision to report or not to report the assault. If you decide to report the assault, the options are outlined below.

If you are considering criminal prosecution, report to the police:

WSU police department
Call 9-1-1 from any campus telephone or (316) 978-3450 from non-university phone.

Local police department
Call 9-1-1
Survivors of sexual assault may receive transport to and from the hospital by our local law enforcement agencies.

If you want to seek University judicial action, report to the University:

Care Team
Fill out an online form. This can be done anonymously.

Office of Human Resources for complaint against a WSU employee or visitor
Matthew Johnston

Associate Director of Human Resources
Human Resources Building, room 113A
Campus Box 15
As an alternative, you may print and fill out complaint form.

Assistant Vice President for Student Advocacy, Intervention and Accountability for complaint against a WSU student
Mandy Hambleton

Grace Wilkie Annex, room 170
Campus Box 95
As an alternative, you may file an incident report form here.

If you are not sure what to do, contact the Counseling and Testing Center (316-978-3440) during its office hours or the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, available 24 hours (316-263-3002 or 1-877-927-2248 for toll free) to discuss your options.

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