Report a Concern

If you would like more information about how to help someone in crisis, please check out CI’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) website. You can also call the 24/7 phone counseling number at 805-437-2088 and press 1 when you reach the voicemail.

Crisis can be defined as one’s perception or experience of an event or situation as an intolerable difficulty that exceeds the person’s current resources and coping mechanisms.

  • A crisis can refer to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss of his or her ability to use effective problem-solving and coping skills.
  • A number of events or circumstances can be considered a crisis: life-threatening situations, such as natural disasters (e.g., an earthquake or tornado); sexual assault or other criminal victimization; medical illness; mental illness; thoughts of suicide or homicide; and loss or drastic changes in relationships (e.g., death of a loved one or divorce).
  • Crisis intervention is the urgent and temporary care given to an individual in order to interrupt the downward spiral of maladaptive behavior and return the individual to their usual level of pre-crisis functioning.
  • Crisis intervention also refers to the methods used to offer immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems.


Crisis intervention has several purposes. It aims to:

  • Reduce the intensity of an individual's emotional, mental, physical and behavioral reactions to a crisis.
  • Help individuals return to their level of functioning before the crisis.
  • Improve functioning above and beyond this by developing new coping skills and eliminating ineffective ways of coping, such as withdrawal, isolation, and substance abuse.
  • Assist individual in coping with future difficulties more effectively.

Through talking about what happened and the feelings about the situation, while developing ways to cope and solve problems, crisis intervention aims to assist the individual in recovering from the crisis and to prevent serious long-term problems from developing. Research documents positive outcomes for crisis intervention, such as decreased distress and improved problem solving.

What to do in a crisis:

  1. If you would like to speak to a clinician immediately, please call CAPS at 805-437-2088 to access 24/7 phone counseling.
  2. If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, please call the police immediately by dialing 9-1-1.
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