5 Ways People React to a Crisis

HomeBlog5 Ways People React to a Crisis

Dec 13, 2021

Mental health crisis : Causes & contributors

“Economic crisis” and “environmental crisis” are terms most of us are familiar with. “Mental health crisis” on the other hand is a lesser known concept. Simply put, a mental health crisis is our response to a traumatic event or experience. Causes range from losing a loved one to witnessing a terrible car accident. A person could also be bottling up stress, anxiety, and toxic thinking that have all culminated in one, large crisis.

Fortunately, there’s a solution for those who are experiencing a crisis and seeking an intervention. Crisis counseling dates back to WWI and II. Considering what soldiers endured and witnessed, it was inevitable that they would be impacted in some way. Soldiers who showed distress were considered weak and disloyal but those who received treatment fared far better than their untreated counterparts, many of whom experienced post-traumatic stress later on in their lives. We’re not saying you need to go through a literal war to consider crisis counseling, but if there’s an internal battle playing out in your head, we can help.

5 ways people respond to a mental health crisis

We’re all unique, with our own responsive system when managing a mental crisis. Here are some of the most common ways people respond:

  • We mentally rehearse: This occurs when an individual mentally “rehearses” ways of responding to the crisis but struggles to act on these in reality. They also tend to ponder upon a chosen course of action which they either reject or end up changing.
  • We deny: This is one of our most human responses to anything negative: denying that it’s happening at all. A person may avoid warning signs of an impending crisis, become confused by the warning signs, or may not believe that they’re real.
  • We lean on relationships: Human beings seek connection and belonging, especially when we're feeling vulnerable. While it’s okay to seek the arms of someone safe, it shouldn't be seen as an ultimate solution to what you're experiencing personally.
  • We get scared & avoid: Fear is a common response to a mental crisis because there might be a lot that is unknown or hard to pinpoint. However, with fear comes the avoidance of what could be contributing to your crisis.
  • We feel hopeless: Sometimes what we’re going through feels too big to get to the bottom of, so we withdraw into what feels like a bottomless pit of despair. Withdrawal is how we protect ourselves but it doesn’t make your mental health crisis disappear or help your healing process.

Crisis, counseling & courage

It takes a lot of courage to seek crisis intervention. This method focuses on minimizing the stress of the event you’ve experienced by providing emotional support and evergreen coping strategies.

Crisis counseling is generally quite brief and depending on the person and what they’ve experienced, it doesn’t last longer than a few weeks. Keep in mind, counseling with Peer Collective is not psychotherapy or a replacement for it. It’s about peer-to-peer connection, with active listening and support being the golden thread throughout your sessions. If you’re looking for someone to guide you gently back into a better place, set up your first free session with one of our empathetic counselors today.


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