Crisis Line Best Practices 01: Crisis Navigation

Published on January 14, 2020

“What is Crisis Navigation, Is it like Therapy?” is a question we get a lot when we talk to folks about the California Youth Crisis Line. Since we aren’t therapists or clinicians it is not our goal to give advice or tell youth what they should or shouldn’t do, our counselors help callers come to their own conclusions and understand what they’re going through. Counselors first find out whether a youth’s crisis falls under one of two categories, A crisis that needs a solution or A crisis that needs support.

Crises that need solutions 

Situations where youth will need an immediate resource or service.  This could be a youth in need of shelter, food, professional therapy or counseling services, law enforcement, etc.  Our crisis counselors can spot these situations and connect the youth to resources and services in their immediate area.

Crises that need support

Situations where a youth needs someone to talk with through their crisis. This is usually a youth who’s having a panic attack, having trouble in school, having a high level of anxiety, etc.  Our crisis counselors can de-escalate the youth’s crisis and offer them the listening ear and coping techniques to get them back to a place of normalcy and recognize if the youth needs any immediate services or outside help.


Importantly, sometimes when someone is in crisis, they don’t often show all the reasons why they’re calling, in that case, our counselors are able to discern the most serious things that take precedent and then work their way down to least serious. After a counselor determines these factors and can talk to the youth from a de-escalated place, the counselor will have successfully navigated a caller’s crisis.

If you’re a youth, parent, or know a youth who is experiencing a crisis, please call or text one of our Crisis Line Counselors today at 800 843-5200, it’s free, confidential, and supportive. We can help navigate the crisis and get the help needed.

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