Youth in Crisis

youth in crisis

Many young people lack opportunities to thrive in their communities. They live in poverty and have little hope for the future. Their frustrations lead them to fill an economic vacuum by joining armed clandestine networks or becoming involved in criminal activities.

Youth need a constellation of protective factors, including a supportive family, positive peers, a quality education and career opportunities. Crisis response systems must be designed with their needs in mind.


Youth in crisis are often pushed into violent behaviour by a combination of factors, including poverty, lack of economic opportunities, questions of political legitimacy and educational deficiencies. They also face violence as a result of their age, gender and race.

They find themselves in a “permanent state of limbo”, unable to become productive members of society, and are therefore vulnerable to various forms of abuse, especially sexual assault and drug abuse. They can also be manipulated into joining armed clandestine networks that facilitate illegal trade and trafficking in arms, drugs or people.

The new national guidelines from SAMHSA recommend that young children and teens who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis receive home-based care instead of being hospitalized or referred to the justice system. Pediatricians are a key group to help with this, and can draw on their long-term relationships with parents to destigmatize mental health care. They can also be a key link between youth and community-based care, which should include family support systems, peer groups and social services.


A teenager in crisis may show signs of depression or other mental health problems, such as feelings of hopelessness and despair. They might exhibit self-harm behaviors or have destructive thoughts, such as thoughts of suicide. Teens who are experiencing a mental health crisis need help right away.

A mental health professional can help determine whether a teenager is in crisis. They will conduct a thorough evaluation and develop a treatment plan for the teenager. They may also consult with a medical doctor to get more information about the teenager’s symptoms and history.

A mental health crisis can affect a person’s well-being and cause irreparable damage to relationships and friendships. If your teen is showing signs of a mental health crisis, contact Huntsman Mental Health Institute. We offer emergency inpatient services and residential treatment for teens who need immediate care. Our trained staff is ready to help them through their crisis. You can also call our 24/7 Crisis line for emotional support.


When teens are in crisis, they should receive prompt treatment to reduce the risk of long-term negative effects on their physical and mental health. An accurate and thorough mental health assessment is key to ensuring that they get the right care.

If a teenager is in a mental health crisis, they should call 911 or your local crisis line. They should also let the operator know that they are experiencing suicidal feelings and behaviors.

Youth who are admitted to a crisis center will be assessed by a therapist and a psychiatrist. They may be prescribed psychiatric medications and given a set of rules for their treatment.

These programs are designed to offer short-term stabilization in a safe environment. They are a critical part of the system that helps teens avoid hospitalizations and justice system involvement by delivering the three core youth crisis services outlined in SAMHSA’s national guidelines: someone to talk to, someone to respond and a place to stay.


Whether or not a youth is suffering from a mental illness, the best way to prevent violence and suicide is to provide them with appropriate and well-informed behavioral health crisis services. These are services that can help de-escalate, stabilize, and divert a youth from unnecessary hospitalization or police involvement.

In the US, many youth don’t get these services because they are unable to access them. This is a critical issue for both the individuals and their families.

Other risk factors that can lead to delinquency and violence include lack of parenting, poor coping skills, an unsupervised lifestyle with easy access to drugs and weapons, chaotic neighborhoods, and a lack of prosocial peer groups. Youth can also become involved in armed conflict, either as victims or perpetrators. This is a concern in many parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East (see Youth and Armed Conflict feature).