ROCKY HILL, Conn. April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Effectively communicating with a child in crisis can be challenging. To help adults faced with a child in crisis, EMPS, a free mobile intervention service for children and adolescents in crisis provided in partnership by the State of Connecticut and United Way of Connecticut 2-1-1, is pleased to offer tips for effectively communicating with children during these times.
It is important for parents to be proactive and look for emotional and behavioral indicators that a child is struggling and/or nearing a state of crisis. Recognizing the signs of a troubled child, such as isolation, loneliness, increased agitation, argumentativeness, distorted body image, and anxiety or depression, can help parents understand crisis catalysts and become more adept at handling the situation. Those who see signs of an impending crisis are encouraged to call EMPS for referrals to licensed clinicians who can provide support resources for the child. It is also important to talk to the child and offer them an opportunity to share their emotions and frustrations through a guided, supportive interaction.
"Active Listening" is another important skill for effectively communicating with children during a crisis. To do this effectively, it is important that the adult focuses his/her attention on the child, understands what is being said, and then responds to the child. It is essential the child feel he or she is being heard.
What you say and how you say it
Since children can easily pickup on adults' nonverbal cues, it is crucial for adults to remain calm when working to defuse a crisis. Practicing calming behaviors, such as deep breathing, helps adults more easily assess the situation and determine the most appropriate response.
"It is important for adults to understand how to communicate with a child in crisis," Robert Plant, Ph.D., Director of Community Programs and Services, State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families. "By implementing calming communication techniques, adults can respond to the situation at hand and manage the crisis to the best of their abilities until additional support arrives, such as an EMPS mobile response provider."
Dialing 2-1-1 and, when prompted, pressing '1' for 'crisis,' provides access to EMPS' team of nearly 150 trained mental health professionals across the state that can respond immediately, face-to-face or by phone, to help manage a behavioral or emotional crisis.
EMPS phone support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, and mobile support, Monday through Friday from 9:00a.m.-10:00p.m. and from 1:00p.m.-10:00p.m. on weekends and holidays. Following the crisis, an EMPS clinician and members of the provider team will meet with the child's family for up to six weeks, develop an action plan and connect them with additional support resources.
To learn more about how EMPS can help manage and respond to behavioral and emotional crises, visit http://empsct.org.
Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS) is a mobile intervention service for children and adolescents experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis that is accessed by calling 2-1-1. Funded by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and in partnership with the United Way of Connecticut, the program comprises a team of nearly 150 trained mental health professionals across the state that can respond immediately by phone or in person within 45 minutes when a child is experiencing an emotional or behavioral crisis. To learn more, visit http://empsct.org or for support during a crisis, dial 2-1-1 and press '1' for 'Crisis.'
Media Contact: Danielle Cyr | Co-Communications | 860.676.4400 | [email protected]