What Is a Crisis? Perspectives of Crisis Support Help-Seekers

Megan O'Riordan, Debra Rickwood, Sonia Curll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Understanding what types of crises help-seekers view as relevant for contacting crisis support services is needed to inform crisis service provision and training. Aims: This study aimed to explore help-seeker perceptions of what comprises a crisis, describing the main themes and examining how these relate to reasons for contact reported in previous research. This study further aimed to compare perceptions of what comprises a crisis between suicide-related and nonsuicide-related help-seekers. Method: As part of a larger online survey, Lifeline help-seekers (n = 375) responded to an open-ended question about their perceptions of personal crisis. Results: Thematic analysis identified 15 crisis themes. The most endorsed by all participants were family and relationship issues, mental health issues, and assault/trauma. Suicide-related help-seekers were more likely to identify suicidality as a crisis, whereas nonsuicide-related help-seekers were more likely to identify general life stress as a crisis. Limitations: The self-selected convenience sample limits generalizability. Conclusion: Help-seekers perceive crisis as a complex concept comprising many themes, with some similarities and differences between suicide-related and nonsuicide-related help-seekers. The findings may inform crisis helplines in promoting and tailoring their services to better meet user needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalCrisis
Volume45
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

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