How to Support Youth in Crisis With Behavioral Health Services


America is experiencing a youth mental health crisis. In 2021, 44% of high school students reported that they had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in the past year.1 In 2019, about 1 in 5 students seriously considered suicide.2 At Connections Health Solutions, the leading innovator in immediate-access behavioral health crisis care, we have treated the youth population and supported their families for more than 8 years. We often see and treat youth who have suicidal ideation aggressive behavior, or who are struggling with substance use, among other mental health and behavioral concerns.

What is often forgotten, or not even mentioned, is the fact that when a youth is in crisis, there is not 1, but 2 crises occurring: the crisis the youth is experiencing, and the crisis that their family members or caregivers are also experiencing in attempting to manage the situation.

Supporting 2 Crises Through a Crisis Care Continuum

To address both crises, engaging the youth and their family can help determine the cause of cause the crisis and what skills and supports the family needs. It can also help encourage safety, health, and functionality within the home. Communication struggles within the family, unhealthy coping skills, a lack of structure and organization, and strained relationships among family members can all influence a youth’s ability to manage and seek support.