For students suffering from any kind of mental health crisis on the weekends or after-hours, Creighton Student Counsel­ing Services offers an after-hours mental health care phone line.

Although the counseling center is available to students Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the cen­ter recognizes that many students may re­quire emergency mental health assistance after hours.

“The times often when people feel the most vulnerable or are in crisis aren’t 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., so I think [the crisis line] is absolutely necessary for the safe­ty of our campus,” said Maddie Moore, a Creighton mental health counselor.

The phone line is run through the national organization ProtoCall. Proto­Call is manned by professional mental health counselors 24/7 who are there to help anyone suffering with an immediate mental health crisis.

Though ProtoCall is a national orga­nization, Sangeetha Kumar, assistant di­rector for student care and outreach and crisis counselor, said that the organization has been trained to become an “extension of Creighton.

Kumar said that the counseling center partnered with ProtoCall in the summer of 2020 but that Creighton has always had on-call crisis counseling after hours

“We really wanted to get wider and better access to mental health services that people can work with in real time and have trained people helping them,” Kumar said of the addition of ProtoCall.

Moore said that the phone line is not meant for students wanting a traditional counseling appointment but is available for students who are experiencing any sort of traumatic event or immediate mental health crisis including suicidal thoughts or panic attacks.

After contacting ProtoCall, Kumar said the service will help students make a tailored plan for follow-up mental health care through the Creighton counseling center.

In the instance when a student is at risk of harming themselves or others and the crisis line is unable to calm the student down, Kumar said the service can call ei­ther Creighton Public Safety or Omaha police depending on if the student is on or off campus.

“If they feel that it is escalated to a higher decision, they have the capabil­ity to get that student to a hospital via [Creighton’s] transportation,” Kumar said.

She added that if ProtoCall “really needs eyes on the student” they can call the Creighton counselor on duty and Ku­mar can physically step in.

Kumar said that offering this service to the Creighton community is important because of the increased need for mental health care.

“Mental health needs are so vast and on the rise, and they have been steadily on the rise for the last five to ten years within college and university settings,” she said.

“There is no counseling center on this planet that can meet the needs of their student 24/7,” Kumar said. “[So this is] a step in that direction of helping to meet those needs in a better way.”

Students in need of the crisis line can call 402-280-2735 to speak to a profes­sional.

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