Crisis Intervention: A Social Interaction Approach (0)

I remember vividly the first time anyone asked me to become involved in a crisis situation. I was an undergraduate at Ohio University, and one of my friends came charging into my room, saying, “Come on, you have to help Jerry! You have to help, come on!” Even then, I intuitively knew that you don’t just stick your nose into every dogfight you happen to come across. The alarm and urgency of my friend, though, was nothing to ignore or take lightly. When I got to Jerry’s room, he was doing nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. He was not talking, he was not looking at anyone, he was not responding when people touched him, he was simply doing nothing, and it was scary. I would like to be able to tell you how clever and effective I was, but the fact is, I really screwed up. I acted scared, then I acted concerned, then I ignored him; then I got angry and went back to my room, figuring, “The hell with it.” For that matter, the guy who came barging in so upset about Jerry handled the situation in about the same way. The next we heard, Jerry had been taken by the emergency squad to the University Health Center. Fortunately for Jerry (and for me as far as that goes), he had one friend who had stayed with him, who had somehow got him to talk a little, and who realized that something had to be done by someone. In Chapter 3 we will talk specifically about our right and responsibility to intervene in crisis situations, and about the criteria for deciding whether or not to intervene. My memory of Jerry tells me, though, that people in crisis need help more that they need to be left alone; that it is better to do too much than not enough, and that just because things sometimes work out on their own does not mean that they always will.