Crisis Intervention (2024)


This category provides general information regarding crisis intervention including but not limited to, planning, implementation and available resources that may be able to assist a client in a crisis situation.

Clarifying Information

Definition of a Crisis:A disruption or breakdown in a person’s or family’s normal or usual pattern of functioning. A crisis cannot be resolved by a person’s customary problem-solving resources/skills.

A crisis may be different from a problem or an emergency

  • While a problem may create stress and be difficult to solve, the family or individual is capable of finding a solution. Consequently, a problem that can be resolved by an individual or a family without outside intervention is not a crisis. Oftentimes, a problem may seem like a crisis to a family or individual under stress and not thinking clearly. Interventions that establish trust and provide reassurance, advice or a referral by the case worker may resolve such a problem.
  • An emergency is a sudden, pressing necessity, such as when a life is in danger because of an accident, a suicide attempt, or family violence. It requires immediate attention by law enforcement, CPS, or other professionals trained to respond to life-threatening events. If a situation can wait 24 to 72 hours for a response, without placing an individual or a family in jeopardy, it is a crisis and not an emergency.
  • Three basic elements of acrisis are: A stressful situation, difficulty in coping, and the timing of intervention. Each crisis situation is unique and will require a flexible approach to the client and situation.

Situations Which Can Lead to a Crisis

Everyone has experiences that make them feel upset, disappointed, or fatigued. When these types of feelings are combined with certain life events or situations, they often lead to mounting tension and stress. Five types of situations have been identified that may produce stress and, in turn, contribute to a state of crisis. Types of client crisis situations presented in the CSO are typically related to the following:

  • Family Situations- a child abuse investigation, spouse abuse, an unplanned pregnancy, a parent’s desertion, a chronically ill family member, and lack of social supports are examples of family situations that can create stress and crises.
  • Economic Situations - sudden or chronic financial strain is responsible for many family crises, such as loss of employment, eviction, no food, a theft of household cash or belongings, high medical expenses, missed child support payments, repossession of a car, utilities cut off from service, money “lost” to gambling or drug addiction, and poverty.
  • Community Situations - neighborhood violence, inadequate housing, a lack of community resources, and inadequate educational programs illustrate some ways the community may contribute to family crises.
  • Significant Life Events - events that most view as happy, such as a marriage, the birth of a child, a job promotion, or retirement, can trigger a crisis in a family; a child enrolling in school, the behaviors of an adolescent, a grown child leaving the home, the onset of menopause, or the death of a loved one can also be very stressful life events.
  • Natural Elements -crises are created by disasters such as floods, hurricanes, fires, and earth quakes, or even extended periods of high heat and humidity, or gloomy or excessively cold weather.

Worker Responsibilities

  1. CSO case workers and disability program specialists can have a major lasting impact on their clients' lives and assist other CSO staff by responding appropriately and promptly to client crises. CSO Financial Workers and WorkFirst Case Managers are to attempt to resolve crisis issues that relate to the assigned caseloads and programs. If necessary, CSO staff my consult with case workers and disability program specialists to resolve client-related crisis situations.
  2. The successful resolution of an emergent situation can do much to strengthen the case worker's bond of trust with their client, and set the stage for a cooperative and productive future relationship. When confronted with a client emergency, case workers and disability program specialists respond by doing the following:
    1. Take a quick inventory of the situation;
    2. Identify the type of crisis;
    3. Take action;
    4. Attempt to defuse situation and/or reassure the client;
  3. Once the situation is calm:
    1. Identify and contact available community resources in your area that can assist the client through the crisis
    2. Document events to the extent possible, maintaining confidentiality when required.
  4. Maintain your professional skills and resources:
    1. Identify and post information about available community resources. Keep that information available to all clients and staff.
    2. Seek additional training opportunities when available. Additional resources for Crisis Intervention Training include:


DOP -,

UW School of Social Work -

Crisis Clinic of Thurston and Mason Counties -

Crisis Intervention (2024)


Is crisis intervention effective? ›

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model, which was developed over 30 years ago, is arguably the most well-known approach to address this issue. As discussed by Rogers and colleagues,1 a growing body of research suggests that the CIT model is effective for at least some of its articulated goals.

Is CIT evidence based? ›

Using an evidence-based practice process approach, CIT may also be a justified strategy for many communities. Future directions to inform the field are discussed.

What should you not do during crisis intervention? ›

  • Touch the other person.
  • Give orders, offer options instead.
  • Try to reason or argue with the person.
  • Be judgmental (e.g. “you should've taken your medications”).
  • Make sudden movements.
  • Try to manage the situation alone, having someone else present or on the phone can help defuse a situation.

What is the most difficult part of crisis intervention? ›

Generating and exploring alternative strategies for managing the problem—summarise the issues, suggest some can be dealt with later, look at the most recent, gently search for solutions with the client. This stage can often be the most difficult to accomplish in crisis intervention.

How effective is CIT? ›

Studies generally support that CIT has beneficial officer-level outcomes, such as officer satisfaction and self-perception of a reduction in use of force.

What makes a good crisis response? ›

Speed Is Key. It's imperative to acknowledge crisis situations immediately. You may not have all of the details for days, or even weeks, but a prompt announcement to the media and your key publics will (a) minimize speculation and rumor and (b) let audiences know you are in control. Be Responsibly Transparent.

What are the benefits of CIT training? ›

The overarching goal of a CIT training course is to provide law enforcement officers with the cognition, information, resources, and skills that allow effective problem-solving and promote positive outcomes when responding to incidents involving mental health consumers.

How do you know if an intervention is evidence-based? ›

Evidence-based interventions are practices or programs that have evidence to show that they are effective at producing results and improving outcomes when implemented. The kind of evidence described in ESSA has generally been produced through formal studies and research.

What are the 3 three crisis intervention practices? ›

Communicate effectively. Assess the need for and type of intervention (if any). Formulate and implement an action plan.

What not to say in a crisis? ›

Five Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Going Through a Crisis
  • Let me know if there is anything I can do. What you are really saying here is, I hope you don't ask. ...
  • Well, it could be worse. ...
  • Everything happens for a reason. ...
  • We all have our cross to bear. ...
  • I understand exactly what you are going through.
Feb 20, 2020

What are the four 4 goals of crisis intervention? ›

Identifying the main problems, including what precipitated the crisis. Reducing the intensity of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to the crisis. Fostering the return of pre-crisis functioning. Teaching emotional self-regulation.

What is considered a mental health crisis? ›

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a mental health crisis is “any situation in which a person's behavior puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others and/or prevents them from being able to care for themselves or function effectively in the community”.

What are the benefits of crisis intervention? ›

Help individuals return to their level of functioning before the crisis. Improve functioning above and beyond this by developing new coping skills and eliminating ineffective ways of coping, such as withdrawal, isolation, and substance abuse. Assist individual in coping with future difficulties more effectively.

What is the impact of crisis intervention? ›

The available research suggests that CIT programs are effective in improving officer knowledge surrounding behavioral health-related crises, officer perceptions of their ability to effectively intervene in a crisis situation, and officer support for using de- escalation tactics.

When should crisis intervention be used? ›

Crisis Intervention Services are indicated for those individuals whose behavior put themselves or others at imminent risk of harm or death, including overdose, or whose mental health is deteriorating because or independent of substance use.

What are the benefits of crisis intervention training? ›

Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis and ensures officer and community safety.

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