What Are Signs My Teen May Need Crisis Intervention?

crisis intervention

What Are Signs My Teen May Need Crisis Intervention?

Many parents think of crisis as a life-or-death situation; however, teens experience emotional crises more often than they experience situational crises. There are times when a parent needs help quickly – when children are struggling to regulate their emotions, their behavior is out of control, or they may be in sudden danger of hurting themselves or others. It may be difficult for parents to identify signs of emotional crises are they are less visible than behavioral issues or traumatic events. Assessment centers, like ViewPoint Center, help provide crisis intervention and a well-rounded view of issues your child is struggling with, clarify potential diagnoses, and collaborate with families to determine an appropriate treatment plan.

A Medical View of Crisis

Some signs that your child may be in need of crisis intervention include:

  • Rapid mood swings 
  • Frequent crying
  • Changes in sleep schedule–either sleeping all the time or being unable to sleep
  • Changes in appetite–rapid weight loss or gain
  • Ongoing physical complaints
  • Confused thinking or irrational thoughts, memory loss
  • Isolating themselves from others
  • Thoughts about self-harm
  • Escalating self-destructive behaviors

A Holistic View of Crisis

When people are prevented from meeting their basic human needs, it can prompt an emotional crisis. There is not always a traumatic event or specific incident that triggers this kind of response. While many adults have developed problem-solving skills to manage and regulate intense emotions, many teens default to a fight-or-flight response, whether or not the perceived threat is imminent. 


  • Connection to something bigger than one’s self. When something happens that goes against their system of understanding the world, teens may experience an existential crisis where they question their reality and their belief system.
  • Health and biological needs. When teens aren’t taking the right dose of medication or getting adequate nutrition, their body may find a way to let them know that it is not being taken care of. This can lead to both physical and emotional distress. 
  • Acceptance. Teens place a lot of value on love and belonging, particularly in a school setting. They may try to act a certain way to receive validation and approval from others. When teens are rejected or bullied, it takes a toll on their self-esteem, which is often contingent on other relationships.
  • Relationships. Teens are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a breakup, regardless of how intimate they were with a partner. While teens learn about relationships through experience, they are more likely to believe that failed relationships are their fault rather than part of the process. 
  • Goals and purpose. Many teens struggle to feel like they have a sense of purpose in life and have a hard time coming up with realistic goals. They may feel frustrated if they feel like their means of achieving those goals are blocked. If they are pursuing goals, but not seeing results, they may feel like their effort is meaningless. This affects their sense of identity and confidence.
  • Efficacy and control. People need to have a sense that they have a certain amount of control over their lives, their feelings, and their needs. Many teens feel out of control of their lives, especially when their parents are more involved in supporting them.
  • Safety. Ultimately, teens need to feel safe in their heads and in relationships. Engaging in self-destructive behaviors or being involved in toxic relationships can affect one’s sense of safety.


Once you decide that indeed your child may be in need of crisis intervention you’ll want to consider the following questions:


  • Do you feel your child is in immediate danger to themselves or others?
  • Can you handle the situation yourself or do you need help?
  • If you need help- what type of help do you need and from who?


ViewPoint Center Can Help 

ViewPoint Center is a specialty hospital for teens who struggle with depression and other mental health issues. ViewPoint Center a comprehensive therapeutic assessment facility that is licensed and provides 24-hour nursing. Viewpoint offers comprehensive assessments. Post evaluation, treatment plans are established to meet the unique needs of each student. By the end of the treatment period at ViewPoint, families have a clear understanding of the child’s diagnoses and are offered full guidance on how to move forward and seek proper treatment.


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