Prevention and Health Promotion
People are exposed to stressful life events and situations with relative frequency. It is well documented that stress and poor coping skills correlates highly with a range of mental and physical illnesses. Historically people have been hospitalized or receive services through the emergency departments of hospitals. This is not only an expensive way of caring, but in many ways inappropriate and an ineffective way to de-escalate crisis situations.
Effective crisis intervention prevents situations from escalating to the point where there are limited options and unnecessary hospital admissions. The point of a crisis is the time (and for many, the only time) that people will accept help to resolve their problems. Crisis Counsellors have the flexibility of helping someone in the office, by telephone, by email or by attending in the community to the place of crisis.
Crisis intervention deliberately avoids becoming involved in long-term matters and the focus is on the “here and now”. This is often the only kind of help or treatment an individual wants or needs. The work of the crisis counsellor is to empower people (e.g. learn effective problem-solving and networking skills) such that they become more self-reliant, and less dependent upon outside resources.
A Bridge to Mainstream Services
Mobile Crisis Services performs a community triage function acting as a point of entry for people into various service systems. Crisis Counsellors perform thorough assessments and make referrals helping people secure needed resources. This ensures that people utilize the right service specific to their problem rather than accessing more expensive or inappropriate service systems.
Close linkages to other agencies in the community not only ensures accessibility to those who most need services, but increases the after hours capabilities of other service providers.
Mobile Crisis Services closely consults with, and collaborates with other service providers (i.e., hospitals, police, ambulance services, safe shelters, mental health services, and other community service systems).
Fill Gaps in Health and Community Services
There are a number of variables that exist in any community which provide the potential for crisis such as crime, community conflict, poverty, anti-social behaviour, housing problems, unemployment, homicide, and tragic events. Crisis Counsellors use their skills to evaluate the interfaces between the individual and the community.
At the same time, Crisis Counsellors enable people to develop better coping skills, access information and identify opportunities for making healthy decisions and informed choices. Therefore, crisis intervention represents a socio-ecological approach to helping people in that it views the whole person in the context of the community, and their relationships with natural helping networks. In this way, Crisis Counsellors readily identify gaps in service delivery, which is instrumental in the development of new resources and the extension of existing services.