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Pause, Listen, Respond


De-escalating a mental health crisis is a very difficult skill set and starts with the worker calming themselves and maintaining their composure as they move toward the situation. Fear elicits a threat response in both the upset person and the one trying to help. This means that without specific strategies it is common for the worker to inadvertently worsen the situation as they react to the “noise” of the situation.

Talking to upset and dysregulated people and keeping the situation calm is a more important skill set than ever before. There is a high level of anxiety in the current culture so when people are stressed by such things as having to wait, feeling disrespected, or being told things that they don’t want to hear, the likelihood of escalation is high. To keep spaces safe for everyone, effective workers need a toolkit of de-escalation responses that help the upset person self-regulate and move toward problem solving. In workplaces that value equity and inclusion, staff use a trauma-informed, non-punitive approach to managing conflict.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine strategies to ground and reorient oneself in a stressful situation

  • Identify the person’s need and specific concern

  • Describe a de-escalation model for crisis situations

  • Practice verbal strategies for building cooperation and seeking compliance

Board Accreditation

MN Board of Social Work

2.0 CEUs (CEP-275)                                                                                  

MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy

LADC: 2.0 CEUs (2023.CE.ADC.122)
LPC/LPCC: 2.0 CEUs (2023.CE.384)

MN Board of Nursing

This activity has been designed to meet the Minnesota Board of Nursing continuing education requirements. However, the nurse is responsible for determining whether this activity meets the requirements for acceptable continuing education.


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