Community service workers are committed to serving on the frontlines of society to help citizens manage personal and social problems. These can include addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, and any other number of psychosocial issues.
One of the tasks that every community service worker will eventually confront on the job is crisis intervention. Support from the community is required when a member of society is in a state of acute mental health crisis, usually brought on by a recent trauma or long-term case of post-traumatic stress. In an intervention, the community service worker can assist in providing support and guidance to the distressed person.
To understand more about crisis intervention, let’s take a look at five facts surrounding its management.
1. Crisis Management Models Offer Helpful Guidelines
There are many types of crisis management models, usually offering a useful step-by-step process for handling an escalating event and bringing the distressed individual back to their pre-crisis psychological state. While the number of steps can vary, the recommended stages of intervention can be very helpful, usually including such actions as:
- Defining the problem and making an imminent danger assessment
- Quickly establishing a collaborative relationship with the distressed person
- Identifying major problems, including the cause of the crisis
- Encouraging the person to vent their feelings and emotions
- Providing concrete and positive coping mechanisms and actions
- Creating an action plan, led by the person in crisis so they feel in control
2. The Assessment Is an Intentional Practice for Seeking Information
Throughout an intervention, a community service worker must make a conscious effort to carefully listen and interpret everything shared by the person in crisis. Active listening and observation of physical behaviours can reveal important information about the person, allowing you to understand more about their emotional state, level of coping mechanism, and what type of support systems they may have in place.
Making a conscious assessment is also vital in determining the level of risk for the person potentially harming themselves or others in the moment of crisis.
3. Controlling Your Own Behaviour Is Crucial
One of the things students of a community service worker program will come to understand is how much their own attitudes and behaviours can affect members of the community they serve. People in distress due to psychosocial issues can be difficult to deal with, often screaming, becoming insulting, and possibly even threatening. As a community service worker, you must not become impatient, angry, or dismissive to someone in your care.
Patience and calm is more essential than ever when it comes to crisis management, when the situation can escalate rapidly. Controlling your own behaviour by remaining cool and calm even in the face of insults and threats can help you de-escalate the situation.
4. Open-Ended and Reflective Questioning Can Be Effective
Open ended “what” or “how” questions can be used to encourage the person in crisis to vent their feelings and thoughts, giving you the opportunity to learn more information about what event or situation may have caused the current conflict.
You can also take the opportunity to repeat the person’s words and restate what you believe they’re trying to say. You can then reflect those words in the form of a question, which will help the person in crisis clarify their thoughts. Keeping silent at this point is crucial so that the person has the time to restate their view, providing you with more insight.
5. A Community Service Worker Program Can Help Develop Skills for Crisis Intervention
At the core of most intervention models is the fine-tuned use of basic communication styles. Taking a community service worker course will help you to be more aware of your own communication styles and approaches. When a member of the community is having a mental health crisis, you will be able to harness your people skills along with tools adopted in training for handling non-violent interventions.
By listening empathetically, using analytical skills for assessing the situation, and formulating a plan from there to offer assistance, the trained community service worker becomes a vital process of crisis intervention and can make a huge impact on the distressed individual’s life.
Think you have what it takes to pursue a career in community service?
Contact Oxford College today to learn more about our community service worker diploma!