A breakdown that requires crisis intervention can leave family members and social workers at their wit’s end. Dealing with an emotional outburst or the harmful behavioral patterns that often accompany a crisis is challenging when you’re not sure why it’s happening or how to react.
This article covers all the vital information and ways you can help your loved one or patient deal with the effects of a personal crisis.
What Is a Crisis?
A crisis refers to a complete breakdown of an individual’s typical behavioral or emotional patterns as their normal coping mechanisms can no longer deal with a traumatic event or stressful experience they are going through.
A range of situations can lead to extreme stress, strain on an individual’s mental health, and eventually a full-blown crisis. They include:
- Family disturbances: Whether it is a revelation of abuse or neglect, an ill or dying family member, or an unplanned pregnancy, stress surrounding children and families may cause a rapid deterioration of an individual’s coping mechanisms, especially when accompanied by an already fragile mental state.
- Economic difficulties: Financial strain and unexpected expenses can arise from various sources, whether gambling, accidents, or substance abuse. All of the pressure associated with this occurrence may cause a personal crisis for the individuals involved.
- Natural disasters: Destruction or trauma caused by fires, floods, earthquakes, or even just extreme heat could cause enough disruption to produce a crisis.
Skills for Crisis Intervention in Social Work
For social workers, developing a strong, research-backed crisis response should be a priority. Social workers often have a powerful impact on their patients’ well-being and mental stability, and understanding the correct trauma response for each crisis situation is vital.
Some of the most important skills anyone who wishes to provide a crisis intervention should have include:
- Problem-solving skills: Although not necessarily a solvable event, crisis management requires an analytical approach to the emotions and thoughts a patient may be experiencing.
- A calm demeanor: A crisis can be disruptive and overwhelming and leave patients feeling like they are continuously becoming more and more emotional. Providing a calming, thoughtful presence is a key step toward helping them calm down and reassess their situation.
- Open-mindedness: Crisis or disaster response requires an approach that does not make assumptions or jump to conclusions. To understand an individual’s situation, you need to know that each person’s reactions are unique and the product of their life experiences.
How to Approach a Crisis
If you are a social worker or health professional taking part in crisis counseling, the first thing you need is an action plan.
The first step of your action plan should involve ensuring the individual’s safety:
- Assess the situation.
- Identify what sort of crisis your patient is experiencing.
- Gently attempt to calm them by addressing panic attacks and serious emotional responses.
- Ensure your patient cannot harm themselves or others as a result of their breakdown.
Once the situation has calmed, your next step is to listen without making a judgment or placing your opinion on your patient:
- Give them a chance to talk.
- Allow them to discuss their fears.
- Offer help to address their needs and personal concerns in a calm, supportive manner.
The final step toward a resolution of the crisis involves providing your patient with the coping skills to ensure the long-term maintenance of their mental and emotional health:
- Help them get in touch with the right treatment or recovery facility to help them manage the cause of their crisis.
- Provide your patient with the information and tools to take their mental well-being into their own hands if necessary.
How RecoverWell Can Help with Crisis Intervention
One of the final steps in dealing with a crisis situation is making treatment or counseling available to help your patient deal with the cause and effects of their breakdown. RecoverWell is a addiction rehabilitation matchmaking service that links potential patients to the best treatment options for them based on their personal preferences, dual diagnosis, comorbidities, and treatment needs.
Many crises are caused by substance abuse and the familial or financial stress this causes. With RecoverWell, you can ensure your patients are matched with the treatment programs that will benefit them the most. This approach can help remove the stress of looking for help and further contribute to the calm, controlled reaction necessary for crisis intervention.