When it comes to mental health, it’s easy to think of crises in terms of emergency responders swooping in to save the day. However, the standard ways of responding to mental health crises in teens are often insufficient and can even do more harm than good. Revamping crisis management for mental health in teens requires a different approach that takes into account the unique needs of this population.
If you’re wondering how the response to mental health crises for teens should change, Ascend is here with ideas that can make a huge difference. In fact, we use these strategies in our own facilities to ensure the health and safety of our clients. Explore our blog today to learn more about appropriate emergency responses to mental health concerns.
Typical Responses to Mental Health Crises in Teens
The standard emergency response to a mental health crisis is through emergency services, like 911. However, this approach is often insufficient and can escalate a situation instead of calm it. Many emergency responders, like police, aren’t trained to deal with mental health crises in teens or adults, which can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared, intensifying the crisis for everyone.
Emergency responders typically use a one-size-fits-all approach. This means that they often use the same methods and strategies, regardless of the individual or situation. A standardized approach can be ineffective, as each person experiences mental health differently.
Emergency responders typically have a very limited amount of time to deal with each call. This means that they often don’t have the time to really get to know the person or understand their unique circumstances. Police officers may cuff a person in need of mental health care, resulting in additional trauma and unnecessary arrests. Often, police don’t recognize the signs of a mental health crisis and will respond with violence to a situation that could have been resolved with compassion.
Alternative Ways to Respond to Mental Health Crises
Emergency responses to mental health crises are often insufficient and can even do more harm than good. So, what are the alternatives? Here is a breakdown of how we would revamp crisis management for mental health.
Community-Based Crisis Response Teams
These teams are composed of trained mental health professionals who work together to provide support during a crisis. They are often more effective than traditional emergency responders because they have the necessary training and experience to deal with mental health crises in teens and adults. They also take a more individualized approach as they get to know the person and their unique circumstances before deciding on a course of action.
Peer Support Groups
These groups provide people who are experiencing a mental health crisis with support from others who have gone through similar experiences. They can offer empathy and understanding that traditional emergency responders might not be able to provide. In addition, they can provide valuable resources and information about where to find help.
These hotlines provide people in crisis with someone to talk to who can provide support and guidance. They can often de-escalate a crisis by simply providing someone who is willing to listen without judgment.
This type of training revolves around calming an individual, grounding them, and bringing them back to a more neutral state of mind so that they can later confront and explore the reason they were in crisis. All mentors at Ascend receive this type of training so they can keep our milieu calm even during the toughest days.
Signs of Mental Health Crises in Teens
There are several warning signs that may indicate that a teen is experiencing a mental health crisis, including:
- Drastic changes in eating or sleeping
- Withdrawal from social activities, family, and friends
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior
- Expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Acting out in aggression or violence
- Self-harm or thoughts of suicide
Help for Teen Mental Health at Ascend
At Ascend, we understand the unique challenges that teens face when it comes to mental health. We offer a variety of programs and services that are specifically designed to meet their needs and give them the tools to thrive outside of treatment.
Residential treatment offers 24/7 care and support in a safe and structured environment with staff that’s specially trained to handle mental health crises in teens. Reach out to us today at 310.388.3713 or via our online form to learn more.