Youth in crisis often face challenges that are difficult to overcome. These include life events, such as moving, a death in the family, or a family change, social stigma, and mental health disorders.
When a teenager goes through a crisis, it is important to support them and their family. The best way to do this is by engaging both parties in a safe space and providing them with personalized care.
A Comprehensive Mental Health Assessment
A mental health assessment is a way to help people who are struggling with mental illness. It involves a series of questions and physical tests to make sure that your symptoms aren’t due to something else.
Your general practitioner (GP) can do a basic assessment and may refer you to a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist if necessary.
A comprehensive mental health assessment will look at the person’s overall psychological state, their family history and their symptoms. These will be the basis of creating a treatment plan.
Engaging the Youth and Their Family
When a youth in crisis is being treated in a system, it is important for staff to consider the family or caregivers of the young person as well. This will help to determine what skills and resources are needed to support the youth and their family in the process of providing personalized care.
Creating an environment in which youth are included in the planning and decision-making processes will not only improve outcomes, but also promote their development as leaders and advocates. In addition, it will empower adults and system partners to work with youth in a more collaborative way. These outcomes benefit families, youth, and the wider community. This approach requires a commitment from all levels of the organization to work in a meaningful way with youth.
Providing Personalized Care
The youth mental health landscape has radically changed over the past decade, with increased awareness and access to services. However, an ongoing challenge remains delivering care that addresses the many needs of young people during their critical development years, in a manner that is tailored to their heterogeneous symptom profiles and illness trajectories.
Personalized and measurement-based care is essential to achieving this. To address this, we have developed a digital platform that provides health services with the tools to directly address the multidimensional needs of young people and promote genuine collaborative care between them, their clinicians, and the service provider.
The Platform enables the collection, assessment, feedback, management, and monitoring of the mental ill-health and well-being of young people through an array of evidence-based questionnaires that can be integrated with other data sources (e.g., clinical information from a health professional, the support of supportive others, or devices). These assessments help to provide an overall picture of a young person’s multidimensional needs, which can be used by services and clinicians to more quickly and accurately identify and respond to specific concerns, thereby improving outcomes over time.
Creating a Safe Space
Safe spaces can be a vital component to the mental health of youth. They can help them feel comfortable, safe and free to express themselves without the fear of judgment.
This can be especially helpful for people who are experiencing chronic oppression or abuse. For example, a safe space can help a person who has been sexually assaulted feel comfortable to be honest about their experiences.
While there are many positive outcomes from creating a safe space, the success of these programs depends on many factors. These include physical and emotional safety, clear and consistent structure, appropriate supervision, supportive relationships, opportunities to belong, positive social norms and ethical practice.
When a child or youth is in crisis, it is critical to provide them with resources that will allow them to stay safe. This includes calling 911, contacting local emergency services and/or seeking help from mental health professionals.
A youth crisis can be triggered by a wide variety of factors such as changes in medication, family conflict, trauma, stress and grief. It may also occur without notice and can have a lasting impact on their life.
Providing resources to help youth stay safe can help prevent crises and reduce the severity of emotional, mental and behavioral issues. It is vital that we take the time to learn more about these challenges and find ways to support children and their families.