Life can be disrupted by the unexpected. Emergencies arise. Sickness and death threaten normalcy. Disaster strikes. People can get overwhelmed by life's circumstances.
The training and resources provided here are for the lay person desiring to bring people hope to help them cope in life's difficult moments.
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What Constitutes a Crisis?
According to Webster's Dictionary, a crisis is . . .
"an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs whose outcome will make a decisive difference for better or worse."
A crisis, then, is usually a time of loss, change, or stress that takes people out of their comfort zones and normal coping patterns. It is a significant challenging and stretching time that may be a turning point in one's life.
Effectively walking through this time will lead to growth. A bad situation will be used for good. Inability to cope may lead to depression, substance abuse, taking anger out on others in violence or abuse, or perhaps suicide. The person will be left with feelings of guilt and failure which will affect future coping. He/she will begin a downward spiral and will tend to move from one crisis to another.
Often a crisis is precipitated by a loss of some sort or a situation that threatens normalcy or expectations. The greater the threat, the more severe the crisis will seem.
Some of these events are predictable due to developmental factors. From the first day of school through retirement, change is inevitable. Some situations, however, come from unexpected tragedies.
Some predicaments could have been controlled had the person made different choices in life but some happen outside of a person's control.
Is the event itself, however, the crisis or is it a person's response to the situation? What turns a problem into a crisis? What makes a problem, loss, tragedy, or stress seem like a crisis to one person and not to another? For some life will basically come to a halt when stricken with trying events. Others, while still hurting, will continue to function and for the most part carry on with life as normal.
In keeping with Webster's definition, the crisis is the instability and threat the event produces. A person's response to the upheaval will determine, in large part, its outcome.
In addition to the content in this section, the People Helping Ministry Manual helps you develop a starting point for preventing and preparing people for crisis.
For More on Crisis Intervention:
- Precipitating events & resources to help
- Intensifying factors in a crisis
- How to help people in crisis
- What if the person is depressed?
- What if the person is suicidal?