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How to Know When It’s Time for a Teen Crisis Intervention

girl on couch talking with a therapist about teen crisis intervention

Many parents and guardians think of a crisis as a life-threatening situation. However, teens are more prone to experiencing an emotional or mental crisis rather than a situational one. If a parent or guardian needs help guiding their teen through moments like this, they should consider crisis intervention for teens.

Adults may find it difficult to identify signs of emotional or mental crises in teens because they’re less observable and visible than a physical threat. But teens often need guidance when they have trouble controlling their behaviors or regulating their emotions. They may even be in danger of hurting themselves or others. Looking for teen crisis intervention services in Colorado? Contact Imagine Fort Collins today by calling 970.680.5887 or reaching out to our team online.

What Is Crisis Intervention for Teens?

First, let’s consider whether or not your teen may need crisis intervention. Then, let’s talk about what crisis intervention means.

Signs of a Teen Crisis

Most parents and guardians will instinctively know what to do. It’s often the recognition of a teen crisis that eludes them, but they most likely have had practice in soothing their children and guiding them back to feeling safe and secure.

Below are some signs of emotional or mental crisis in teens:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Confused thinking or irrational thoughts
  • Escalating self-destructive behaviors
  • Frequent crying
  • Isolating themselves from others
  • Memory loss
  • Ongoing physical complaints
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Thoughts about self-harm

Stages of Teen Crisis Intervention

Any crisis intervention should start with building rapport, then listening and empathizing. Make sure the teen knows that you’re genuinely helping them while still respecting their independence and perspectives. The teen should feel invested in the conversation enough to accept your suggestions for solutions or options and allow you or someone else to work with them to change their troubling behaviors, feelings, or thoughts.

Here is a seven-stage model of crisis intervention that can help parents and guardians with teens in crisis:

  • Plan and conduct crisis assessment
  • Establish rapport and establish a relationship
  • Identify major problems
  • Deal with feelings and emotions
  • Generate and explore alternatives
  • Develop and formulate an action plan
  • Follow-up plan and agreement

Teen crisis intervention services offered by mental health centers follow these stages, too. If a crisis seems too difficult to handle without professional help, it’s never the fault of the teen or their parents. However, it’s up to them to seek the guidance that they need.

What Constitutes a Teenage Crisis?

As mentioned earlier, most adults think of a crisis as a life-or-death situation. But when it comes to teen crises, it helps to take a holistic approach to define these situations.

When teens are prevented from meeting their basic human needs, it can prompt an emotional or mental crisis. There isn’t always a traumatic event or even a specific incident that triggers a response like this. The crisis could simply arise due to inner anxieties and conflicts that affect their commitment, freedom, independence, responsibility, or sense of purpose. While adults have often developed problem-solving skills to manage and regulate undesirable emotions or control unwanted behaviors, many teens default to fight-or-flight responses.

Still, specific incidents may sometimes be the cause of a teen crisis — such as experiencing academic or athletic losses, being in an accident, bullying, going through a breakup, grieving the loss of a loved one, having to go through financial or housing issues with family or even surviving a natural disaster.

When Should You Consider Teen Crisis Intervention Services?

If you’ve noticed signs that your teen may be dealing with a crisis, you should definitely consider touching base with them and offering guidance, or, at least, hearing them out. However, if you feel like your teen is an immediate danger to themselves or others, you should go straight to urgent care or an emergency room (ER).

In many cases, especially if you have a close relationship with your teen, crises of this type can be handled in the home. But sometimes, your teen may need professional help, and you may not have the tools to figure out what kind of help they need. In cases like this, you should turn to teen crisis intervention services.

Discover More About Imagine Fort Collins’s Teen Crisis Intervention Services

If you’re searching for teen crisis intervention services in Colorado, contact Imagine Fort Collins today. Call 970.680.5887 or reach out to our team online.