Crisis Intervention

Periodically, windows of opportunities arise for providing inservice at schools about mental health and psychosocial concerns. When such opportunities appear, it may be helpful to access one or more of our Center's Quick Training Aids.

Each of these offers a brief set of resources to guide those providing an inservice session. (They also are a form of quick self-tutorial.)
Most encompass
  • key talking points for a short training session   
  • a brief overview of the topic   
  • facts sheets   
  • tools   
  • a sampling of other related information and resources

In compiling resource material, the Center tries to identify those that represent "best practice" standards. If you know of better material, please let us know so that we can make improvements.

Guide for Suggested Talking Points

  1. Brief Overview
    1. Present main points from:
      School-Based Crisis Intervention - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 5.)
      1. Highlight the range of potential crisis situations and emotional responses that require advance preparation in order to handle (first paragraph).  The second paragraph follows up with potential school problems that can be avoided through successful crisis intervention.
      2. The definition of school-based crisis intervention as used by our Center is outlined in the third paragraph.  Providing a clear definition at the outset can help prepare the audience for the goals and expectations of those who will have a role in school crisis management. 

  2. Fact Sheets
    1. Major Facets of Crises Response - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 20).
      1. A major distinction to point out is the different requirements for local (e.g. on campus) vs. global (e.g. city or national) crisis. For instance, the first part of crisis response ("During the emergency") applies more to local, school-based crises than to national crises such as the September 11th terrorism. On the other hand, the final category ("Prevention") is always applicable because it facilitates other facets of crisis response.
      2. Highlighting specific details that are more applicable to your audience for each category will be helpful in generating ideas for a crisis intervention plan. For the most relevant facets of crisis response you might discuss who would coordinate, what community resources you should establish relationships with, where referrals might be made, etc.
      3. Also highlight that some facets of crisis response involve providing services for staff as well as students. Aside from providing for the health, safety, and well-being of students, some staff members might require crisis intervention for themselves - especially in a local crisis.
    2. Responding to Crises: A Few General Principles - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 21).
      1. This one-page reference provides more specific guidelines for crisis intervention and would make an excellent handout.
      2. Reinforce the "take home points" (in bold italics). The bullet points that follow each major point provide specific strategies for trying to achieve the major goals. During a crisis though, team members might not be able to recall details. Focusing on the overall goals will improve the chances that the most important ideas from this part of the presentation are easily recalled during a crisis.

  3. Tools/Handouts to Organize a Crisis Response Team
    1. Example of Meeting Invitation - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 47).
      1. This sample invitation is provided for your reference. It is provided in Rich Text Format (rtf) so that you can edit it in your word processor to generate a memo or invitation for your presentation/meeting.
      2. Note: The third paragraph mentions "attached material". Having a few key attachments might help participants be more informed and able to contribute to a successful planning session. You might also ask them to write down thoughts, ideas, or suggestions before the meeting and bring them in for discussion. However, you should be prepared to lead the discussion if necessary (because sometimes even staff do not complete the homework assignment).
    2. Crisis-Response Checklist - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pgs. 22-23).
      1. This short (2-pg) document can be used as a handout, and/or be included as an attachment to the meeting invitation. It is presented in the form of a checklist to be used in the event of a crisis. However, it can also be used to map your resources and decide what areas of your plan have been addressed or need further work.
      2. In particular, highlight the section on coordinators for different facets of crisis response (in "Immediate Response"). These coordinators might also oversee the development of relevant aspects of your crisis plan. It might be helpful to draw on the strengths of staff members who already have knowledge that will facilitate their role (i.e., the School Nurse might be best for first aid, whereas the staff who currently coordinate school-wide assemblies might be best for crowd management).
    3. Worksheet: Team Membership, Roles, and Functions - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 49).
      1. This worksheet can be included as an attachment to the invitation along with instructions for nomination or self-nomination for various roles. Then final decisions can be made by consensus during the meeting.
      2. Alternatively, as the meeting organizer, you might use this worksheet solely during the meeting to help organize your crisis team plans.

  4. Tools/Handouts for Crisis Responders
    1. Psychological First Aid: Responding to a Student in Crisis - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pg. 31).
      1. Note: Although the title refers to responding to students, most (if not all) of the principles apply to responding to fellow staff members as well.
      2. This might make an informative handout, especially for those team members responsible for direct student or staff support in a crisis. This information should at least be provided to the coordinator for First Aid/Health.
      3. Again, highlight the most important goals listed in bold italics. These are the key messages, and subsequent bullet points provide more specific strategies to reach those goals.
    2. A Crisis Screening Interview - Excerpted from A Center resource packet entitled: Responding to Crisis at a School, (pgs. 32-34).
      1. This is a sample interview form and is being provided in Rich Text Format (rtf) so that it can be easily modified (with a Word Processor) for use by your health/screening staff.
      2. The screening interview covers factual information that can help with assessing both the crisis situation and the impact on the student/staff. It also provides a quick screening for acute reactions that might require additional help or referral.

  5. Additional Resources
    1. Quick Find on Crisis Prevention and Response (printer-friendly format)
      To view the web-based quick find on Crisis Prevention and Response, click here
    2. Crisis Assistance and Prevention: A Self-study Survey

  6. Originals for Overheads
  7. The following can be copied to overhead transparencies to assist in presenting this material.
    1. Responding to Crises: A few General Principles
    2. Major Facets of Crises Response
    3. Psychological First Aid: Responding to a Student in Crisis
This material provided by: UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools/Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563
(310) 825-3634/ Fax: (310) 206-8716/ Email:

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