Standard procedure in any crisis is to react; to do something. Do something right now. Take action. Quiet it down as quickly as you can.
This is particularly true in the medical world, where immediate, aggressive interventions are often necessary.
When it comes to mental health, however, it is time to move beyond the moment. We should be programming a thoughtful, trauma-informed and person-centered response that helps a person in distress figure out why they are experiencing so much pain. What is it that they are feeling? Why is it a crisis? What can we do to avoid it in the future? What kinds of self-actuated interventions might have kept the experience from reaching such an acute level? How can we look at crisis beyond what is happening this moment, at the bigger picture, with an eye toward longer-term wellness goals that the program participant chooses for himself?
Crisis Respites are one way to do just that. They address the immediate crisis by making guests feel safe, welcome and “heard.” It allows them to rest without interference and, as they begin to regain perspective, connects them to community-based services that will help them toward their own wellness goals, if that is what they wish. It is remarkably effective. It avoids further trauma from hospitalization. It allows the individual enough latitude to map out his or her own path to recovery.
But not everyone has access to Crisis Respite. All crisis care should be moving from reactive to responsive.