Programs that provide immediate access to support and advice for people who are in distress with the objective of defusing the emotional impact of the crisis, ensuring the person's safety and helping the person to take the next steps toward resolving the problem. Hotlines/helplines are generally staffed by trained volunteers who are available via the telephone, email, live chat, texting and/or instant message (IM).
Programs that provide an opportunity for people who are emotionally distressed and/or for their significant others to meet face-to-face with someone who has been trained to assess and resolve the immediate crisis, if possible, and to link the person with appropriate resources for ongoing assistance.
Programs that provide an opportunity for people who are emotionally distressed to have one-on-one Internet chat room sessions with people who are trained in supportive listening and crisis intervention. The objectives of the sessions are to defuse the immediate crisis, ensure the person's safety, and assist the person to take the next immediate steps toward resolving the problem.
Programs that provide a mechanism for mobile emergency response in situations where an individual's mental or emotional condition results in behaviour which constitutes an imminent danger to him or herself or to another and the person is unwilling to seek voluntary treatment. The program conducts an immediate assessment of the psychological condition and functioning of the individual and can issue an order which authorizes involuntary hospitalization for a specified period of time for the purposes of observation and treatment. A request for intervention can be made by family members, community residents and/or community agencies.
Hospital-based facilities that provide 24-hour access to emergency mental health care for patients in acute emotional distress. Programs include the management and treatment of psychiatric emergencies, and depending on the size of the facility and scope of services, they may offer a mobile crisis unit, short-stay rooms, or counselling.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.