School of Nursing

February 16, 2018

Campus safety and self-care resources

Azita Emami

I had hoped to send you a note this evening wishing you a joyous President’s Day weekend. Instead, I find myself writing to you about a horrible tragedy earlier this week: a school shooting in Florida in which at least 17 people were killed. Reports indicate that it is among the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

As you probably know, I strongly condemn gun violence. As nurses, I believe we must be outspoken advocates for gun control and more accessible mental health care. Tragedies like this are abhorrent and should not be allowed to continue.

This afternoon, the American Academy of Nursing issued a statement urging Congressional leadership to launch a bipartisan National Commission on Mass Shootings within the next thirty days. This quote resonated with me:

“The time to act is now. Thoughts and prayers for victims and families are simply not enough. We need the will of Congressional leadership to lead,” said Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of the American Academy of Nursing and Executive Vice President/COO, Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “We need common sense gun laws.”

I encourage you to join me in support of the AAN’s call and contact your elected leaders to amplify this important message. As nurses, advocacy is just one way we work to ensure population health. Our voice matters, and we owe it to our community to speak out on this very important issue.

It’s easy to feel grief and fear and even loneliness right now. Please know that I am here for you, and as a school community, we are here for each other.

As part of the university, we have several resources available to us.

UW SafeCampus (prevention, feeling something is “off” or not sure who to call): SafeCampus is UW’s on-campus threat assessment unit. They work with individuals who have safety concerns due to relationship violence, stalking, harassment, intimidation, cyberstalking, interpersonal conflicts at school or work, and suicidal thoughts. They also receive calls where there isn’t a safety concern yet, but the witnessed behavior is strange, erratic, alarming, or just plain doesn’t feel right.

If you have a gut feeling that something is “off,” or if a situation is escalating, someone may be in danger, or you have a feeling that you should tell someone, call SafeCampus 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 206.685.SAFE (7233). You can also email safecamp@uw.edu, though you will reach someone faster by telephone.

Learn more about SafeCampus and access their resources online.

UW Police (a crime has been committed or is in progress): The University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) serves and protects the students, staff, faculty and all people and property within the jurisdiction of our community. Commissioned law enforcement officers are on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The UW Police has developed active shooter – campus emergency procedures, and I encourage everyone to review the safety tips and guidelines.

Reach the UW Police by calling 911 in an emergency, or the non-emergency line at 206.685.UWPD (8973).

Counseling or mental health support (self-care): These situations are disturbing and can add a whole new level of stress on top of our already stressful lives. Self-care is more important than ever.

  • Students: If needed, I encourage you to reach out to Dr. TeResa Regan, our school’s counselor and health and wellness coach. Talking to Dr. Regan is free, confidential and a resource for the sole use of nursing students. No record is kept of your visit in school files. You can reach Dr. Regan at 206.543.8734 or resa@uw.edu. She is at our school on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Hall Health Mental Health Clinic provides individual and couples counseling and therapy, crisis counseling and intervention, medication evaluation and management, group therapy and support groups, campus outreach services, mindfulness meditation, and after-hours care. Hall Health can be reached at 206.543.5030.
  • Faculty and staff: UW CareLink connects you with experts who help you or your family members navigate life’s challenges. You get free, confidential access to guidance consultants. Please reach CareLink at 866.598.3978

Training: You probably remember that over the last couple of years, we’ve had various training sessions led by both SafeCampus and the UW Police department. If you would like to have a refresher or additional training, please reach out to Jen Thompson at thomjenn@uw.edu.

Be safe this holiday weekend and please remember to practice self-care.