Introduction to Crisis Intervention
MELISSA ALLEN HEATH, DAWN SHEEN, ELLIE L. YOUNG, and BART LYMAN
Receiving immediate emotional first aid is crucial in assisting students and staff to cope and adjust. The stabilizing effect of immediate care and support cannot be underestimated. Eric Lindemann (1944, 1979) brought this point to the public's attention following the 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston. Families were celebrating after the Harvard–Yale football game when the overcrowded nightclub caught fire. Flames quickly consumed the building, killing almost 500 people. Physicians, emergency medical technicians, nurses, mental health professionals, clergy, and community volunteers assisted with the emergency and subsequently with survivors and families of the deceased. Lindemann noted that this immediate support facilitated the survivors' grieving process and assisted them in adjusting to their loss and ultimately adapting to their new life. Those receiving immediate intervention appeared to suffer less maladjustment later in life.
Another example of crisis intervention, this time specifically related to children, occurred in 1976 when three masked men hijacked a busload of 26 children in Chowchilla, California. Threatening the driver and children with a gun, the hijackers drove the bus to a remote location in the desert. Here the children were transferred to a trailer in a ravine and covered over with dirt. The children remained in the buried vehicle until they were rescued 27 hours after being abducted. After returning to their families, everyone's immediate focus was on the physical condition of the children. Much to the parents' relief, the
Ellie L. Young, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology Special Education, Brigham Young Univer-
sity, Provo, Utah.
Bart Lyman, BS, graduate student in School Psychology Program, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.