As parents and significant others have a key role in regulating young people’s exposure to difficult and often risky circumstances, their level of knowledge and skill will strongly influence young people’s ability to manage crisis. It also depends on the degree to which a young person possesses relevant and specific knowledge and skill according to the type of crisis. Knowledge and skill combined with motivation and opportunity are key ingredients for the implementation of harm-reduction strategies.
Self-awareness and health literacy enable young people to regulate their own response in a crisis situation and can be the basis of appropriate and timely help-seeking behaviour. On a practical level, resourcefulness and social awareness are useful assets identifying the resources and services can be drawn on to reinforce a young person’s coping. Clients in crisis are often overwhelmed by strong feelings and experience high levels of stress and arousal. An even temperament is an asset in enabling a relatively quick return to emotional equilibrium. For young people with less stable moods and affect, moving through crisis may require assistance to learn or use skills that reduce arousal and regulate emotions.
Problem-solving and decision-making skills can enable young people to calculate risk and better predict and manage the logical consequences of their actions.
Another characteristic that is helpful during and after a crisis is the ability to make sense of experiences and put them into context. This can minimise unhelpful thought processes, such as over-generalising and catastrophising (see section 6.2.4), and reinforce a belief that addressing distressing circumstances in a constructive way is possible and worthwhile.
Finally, communication and assertiveness skills are likely to be very useful in the process of negotiating for meaningful support and necessary resources.
Summary of relevant resources and assets
- Insight (self & social awareness) Self-care knowledge & skills
- Health literacy
- Regulation of emotion & arousal
- Problem-solving & decision-making skills
- Ability to make sense of experiences & put them into context
- Communication skills
- Assertiveness skills
- An even temperament & intelligence