Crisis can strike any moment, anyone, and anywhere. Throughout our lives, we all face crises of varying severity and frequency. A crisis, according to Webster, is a “turning point.” A crisis occurs as a result of a transition, and one then frequently perceives it as catastrophic. Life-changing events that lay the stage for a crisis can come as a surprise or a result of the naturally evolving process. While events may have been building for some time, the triggering event marks the official start of the crisis state. Inadvertent crises are those that occur as a result of unforeseen circumstances. These result from events that bring about too much change in too short a period. A crisis is likely if one views this transition as a threat to one’s existence or perceived equilibrium or testing their inherent resources.
Some of the factors which determine the severity of the crisis are:
- The onset’s abruptness
- The physical and emotional wellbeing of the individual at the moment
- Additional obstacles in the individual’s life
- The quantity and quality of accessible support
- Previous crises and coping strategies honed
- The complexity of the crisis
- The degree to which advanced warning is issued
Sadness, anger, guilt, rejection, and remorse are common crisis emotions. It can cause significant changes in one’s sleep, appetite and other physiological functions of the body. The crisis state of disorganization and uncertainty can affect many facets of one’s life. Most people only feel the full force of the crisis for four to six weeks. This six-week window of opportunity opens widest in the first 24 hours of a catastrophe. Whoever jumps in early has the greatest chance of influencing the outcome. Recognize your strengths and limitations as a gatekeeper, and have others accessible to help. Often, it may involve a network of people who can help the person in crisis.
While all crises are important, not all are emergencies. People typically overreact to critical situations by declaring their emergencies. An emergency necessitates immediate action and response. A crisis may or may not be an emergency. When requested to assist in a crisis, gather all relevant information. In a crisis, you may not have to do much to help. Just being there to listen and help explore choices may be enough to help someone convert a crisis into a learning opportunity. Without intervention, the suffering person is likely to take the path of least resistance, resulting in an insufficient response. To be allowed to intervene in another’s distress moments is a life-changing experience.
In a crisis, it isn’t easy to foresee what anyone, including yourself, will do. In some cases, individuals crumble immediately; for others, finding an inner reservoir of strength is enough to carry them through protracted moments of crisis. One requires hope and help in both cases. The crisis state can have a significant impact on multiple facets of a person’s life simultaneously. When a person is in crisis, gatekeepers must contact that person and offer support through their presence. For the time being, the primary objective is to channel the concerns through presence. Crisis stabilization is the immediate goal; it aims to help the individual get through the “crisis window” with adequate support.
No matter how slippery the slope seems, there is always hope for people who are suffering; that each and every action could help light the way for those who have lost all hope. Suicide is preventable, and we are all accountable. As responsible members of society, as family members, friends, partners, parents, peers, neighbours, gatekeepers, we can all make a difference in someone’s darkest hour by creating hope through action. We all have a responsibility to support those in distress and those who have lost someone to suicide.
Create Hope through Action
Where “Help Me” is a cry for help “Helpie is there to Help!