If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, text Help to 741741, or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis support. 

Respond Effectively to Individuals in Crisis

Individuals in your school, organization, or community who are experiencing severe emotional distress may need a range of services. A full continuum of care includes not only hotlines and helplines but also mobile crisis teams, walk-in crisis clinics, hospital-based psychiatric emergency services, and peer-support programs. Crisis services directly address suicide risk by providing evaluation, stabilization, and referrals to ongoing care.

Crisis services are an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Although the term crisis services is often used to refer to hotlines or helplines, it also encompasses other programs that provide assessment, crisis stabilization, and referral to an appropriate level of ongoing care.

Examples include:

  • Mobile crisis teams
  • Walk-in crisis clinics
  • Hospital-based psychiatric emergency services
  • Peer-based crisis services

Providing a full range of crisis services can reduce suicides when paired with mental health follow-up care. Many communities offer two or three types of crisis care, but few provide a full continuum of services designed to provide the right care at the right time in the least restrictive setting. However, this is changing as we learn more about the cost-effectiveness and positive outcomes associated with providing a full continuum of care.

Take Action

  • Learn more about the crisis service system in your community or catchment area.
  • As part of a strategic planning process, conduct an assessment to identify strengths and gaps in the system, including obtaining input from individuals who have used these systems and people with lived experience.
  • Develop institutional protocols in advance of a crisis to help ensure effective and compassionate response and care.
  • Build community and organizational capacity to provide a full continuum of crisis care services.
  • Ensure that the crisis system workforce is adequately trained in suicide risk assessment.