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Curtin University

Personal crises and critical incidents

If you are going through a personal crisis, please contact the Counselling Service for help. We also provide assistance to student and staff who have experienced a critical incident.

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Personal crises

During normal office hours

Clients who urgently need to see a counsellor before the next available appointment should drop in or call the Counselling Service offices to speak with the Triage Counsellor, who will then schedule an appointment that best meets the urgency and complexity of the situation.

After hours

Please go to the Emergency contacts page for information on who to contact outside of business hours.

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Critical incidents


A ‘critical incident’ is any situation that affects a number of Curtin University staff or students, causing them to experience strong emotional reactions that could:

  • Interfere with their mental and/or physical state 
  • Affect their ability to perform either at the scene or later.

Examples of critical incidents include:

  • Sudden deaths
  • Serious accidents
  • Assaults.


The Counselling Service has a systematic response plan for any such incidents. The Counselling Service response plan includes appropriate liaison with other Curtin University services via standard emergency procedures.

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Useful information

The following documents published by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, Inc. provide valuable advice for assisting those who are experiencing crises or other traumatic experiences.

Below are 3 documents that provide important information when dealing with critical incidents.

How do people respond during traumatic exposure? provides information on how people respond to traumas in the following 4 ways:

  • Emotional
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioural
  • Physiological.

Traumatic stress: An overview covers information such as:

  • History of traumatic stress
  • Types of traumatic events
  • Current diagnostic criteria and other considerations
  • Assessment of traumatic stress
  • Treatment of traumatic stress.

The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. has also produced a Critical incident information sheet, which provides tips on:

  • Identifying common signs of a stress reaction
  • What to do to help yourself during a stress reaction
  • What to do to help others experiencing a stress reaction.

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