I'm worried about _______. What should I do?
Call the Utah County Crisis Line (801-691-LIFE). In an ideal world, all crisis interventions would be performed by a trained interventionist, like the volunteers at the Crisis Line. If you are concerned for a loved one, we can guide you to resources in the community so you can help those you love find the care they need.
If you find yourself in crisis situation with an individual, it can be helpful to understand the basics of crisis intervention theory. Remember, if possible, call 801-691-LIFE to speak with a trained crisis interventionist.
- Make sure the person is safe. Don't be afraid to ask if they are feeling suicidal--asking a suicidal individual if they have been thinking about suicide is not going to "give them the idea."
- Establish rapport. Make sure they know you care about them, that you respect them, and that you will not judge them. Help them understand there is help for the problems they are experiencing.
- Define the problem. Focus on the here and now, and help them identify the event that brought them to this moment. This is called the "precipitating event."
- Explore feelings and emotions. Allow the person to vent and express his or her emotions, and actually listen. Don't interrupt, or tell them how to feel. You're not a therapist, so don't feel like you need to tell them how to solve their problem; you just need to be there for them.
- Explore past coping attempts. Help them see how their current attempts at coping are ineffective, and why. This may be very easy for you to see but may not be for the individual in crisis.
- Generate and explore options. Help the individual come up with alternative coping mechanisms. Don't tell them what to do; help them generate their own alternatives.
- Implement an action plan. Where can they go for help? Why did what happened upset them, and how can this be overcome?
The Action Plan phase is the perfect time to suggest that the individual go an see a professional, in order to continue the healing process. Crisis intervention is not meant to be a long term solution; it is meant to keep an individual safe in the moment and to assist them in seeking long term care.
Understanding and recognizing warning signs can help prevent a crisis. The more we watch out for each other, the safer we all are.
- Poor appetite of overeating
- Low energy or fatigue
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Engaging in self harm or risky behavior
- Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
- Sleeping less or sleeping too much
- Low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness or dependancy
- Withdrawing from others
- Talking softly and slowly
- Mention of giving things away
- Sentimental talk, as if saying "good-bye"
- Previous suicide attempts
- Trying to finalize plans for home, kids, finances, cars, pets, possessions, etc.
- Phrases such as:
- "I just can't do it anymore"
- "There's nothing to live for"
- "It's hopeless, there's no point"
- "I'm making a difficult decision"
- "I'm scared about what I have to do"
- "No one cares about me or what I do"
If you are worried that someone you know is feeling suicidal or depressed, call the Crisis Line, at 801-691-LIFE (5433).