Assessing a situation

Find out the difference between an emergency, a non-emergency requiring an immediate response, or cause for concern and the recommended courses of action for each.

1. Emergency situations

A situation is considered an emergency if there is an immediate and serious danger to someone’s health or safety.


  • Possession of a weapon
  • Suicidal action or threat of suicide
  • Violent act (including but not limited to physical or sexual assault) or threatening to commit a violent act

Recommended action

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. After calling 911, call campus security at 403.680.1451.
  3. After calling 911 and alerting campus security, you can also contact the counsellor at 403.284.7666 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

2. Non-emergency requiring an immediate response

These scenarios involve threat or a possibility of a threat to someone’s health or safety that is not immediate and may be less clear than an emergency situation, but serious enough to require immediate action.


  • Statements that reflect suicidal thoughts
  • Erratic behaviour that may disrupt classes or ACAD’s typical functioning
  • Intoxication within classrooms, studios, etc.
  • Sexual harassment
  • Emotional abuse
  • Stalking, verbal assault, menacing behaviour
  • Discrimination
  • Obstruction of ACAD activities
  • Vandalism

Recommended action

  1. Call campus security immediately at 403.680.1451. They will determine if emergency medical or protective services are required.
  2. After alerting security, contact the counsellor at 403.284.7666 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  3. If the situation occurs after hours, contact the Distress Centre at 403.266.4357. They can provide guidance and dispatch emergency services as needed while remaining on the phone. Their motto is “no problem is too small to call,” so if in doubt, contact them.

3. Situations requiring attention and referral

To help people with urgent issues, the Counselling Office keeps a drop-in appointment open every day at 3 p.m.

People who are having difficulty often show signs of distress. While a single sign in isolation may not be cause for concern, a pattern of behaviour or escalation in intensity of that behaviour is. And while it’s not up to a student, faculty member, staff member to assess the risk and intervene, the general rule is, if you are in doubt or concerned, reach out.

Reaching out can involve communicating with the person in distress, contacting the ACAD Counsellor, or contacting the Distress Centre to discuss your concerns. In case of emergency, contact Campus Security or call 911.

Recommended action

  1. Review signs of distress.
  2. Learn how to offer help to someone showing signs of distress.
  3. Contact the counselling office at 403.284.7666, 403.338.5594, or email.