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Crisis intervention services cover an array of emergency social and mental health supports that are usually accessible 24 hours a day. These services are typically designed to offer immediate and intensive assistance to people in extreme emotional or mental distress. This aid may come in the form of telephone hotlines, support groups, shelters, transitional housing, mental health and addictions counseling, education, advocacy, or mobile teams of professionals that can travel directly to the site of the person in crisis. The exact types of services available vary from location to location.
Issues relating to mental health crises, suicidal ideation, addiction intervention, rape, and domestic violence victims frequently have services that are tailored to meet specific needs. Mental health professionals and social workers tend to be at the forefront of providing these crisis intervention services. The primary concern of any crisis worker is to ascertain that the person having the emergency is safe. If a professional determines that the situation is serious enough that the person needs psychiatric hospitalization, the interventionist will often assist with the admission process to an appropriate facility.
Mental health issues are perhaps most commonly associated with the need for crisis intervention services, but several other issues also have emergency resources available. Many communities have systems in place to help victims of violence find appropriate counseling, support groups, or shelter. Some areas also offer intervention services related to court or medical advocacy.
Crisis intervention services are sometimes accessed through other emergency services, such as hospitals and local law enforcement. Medical staff will often call crisis intervention workers to help coordinate aftercare support services for people who come in with mental, emotional, or addiction problems. Law enforcement officials may also refer victims of physical or sexual abuse to the appropriate services.
Telephone hotlines are often the point of first contact between the person in trouble and crisis intervention services. These lines of communication tend to be manned by either professional counselors or trained volunteers who will offer support, information, and follow-up services to the caller. Some international organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have crisis services available by telephone and on the Internet.
Crisis interventions services are available for a wide range of situations. Information about what services are available in a given location can usually be obtained from the local mental health or social services centers. These resources may also be located on the Internet, or by contacting a local hospital.