A young man wants to use Charlie Health for support during crisis.

How Charlie Health Supports Clients in Crisis

5 min.

Learn about the dedicated team members at Charlie Health who support clients in crisis — during and outside of treatment sessions.

By: Komal Kumar, MS

Clinically Reviewed By: Dr. Don Gasparini

April 19, 2024

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Table of Contents

Trigger warning: Suicide, self-harm. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or are in danger of harming yourself, this is a mental health emergency. Contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 by calling or texting 988.

Experiencing moments of crisis is not uncommon for individuals undergoing treatment at Charlie Health. Being a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) serving teenagers and young adults with high-acuity mental health conditions who need more than once-weekly support, many clients experience moments of heightened symptoms and escalated needs. 

When anyone is experiencing a mental health crisis, it’s important to get them the support they need — which is where Charlie Health’s crisis staff is essential. Our team of Care Coaches and Crisis Managers is equipped to address these situations with a range of comprehensive crisis services that clients can access at any time. Safety for all clients is our priority, and these services ensure everyone gets the support they need. Read on to learn more about the unique systems Charlie Health has to support clients experiencing mental health crises.

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We specialize in supporting clients with serious mental health concerns

Our wraparound services include crisis support during and outside treatment sessions.

Clinical team members who support Charlie Health clients in crisis

Charlie Health’s crisis services team is comprised of trained Care Coaches and Crisis Managers adept at delivering compassionate care through various channels. Here’s an overview of these roles. 

Care Coaches

Crisis Managers

Individual and Family Therapists

Clinical team members with mental health-related degrees who serve as the primary pillar of support for clients during group sessions. 

Clinicians specializing in services like safety planning, suicide risk assessment, and case management.

Licensed clinicians adept in risk assessment and safety planning for high acuity clients.

Care Coaches

Care Coaches are clinical team members with degrees in mental health-related fields, like psychology and social work. They serve as the primary pillar of support for clients during group sessions. If a client needs to step away from their group because of a triggering situation or just to take a break as they acclimate, Care Coaches are there to offer support.

Charlie Health’s Care Coach team comprises people of diverse identities and life experiences, ensuring clients can meet with someone who makes them feel comfortable and understood. “Our primary purpose is making sure clients feel supported and safe while they are in groups,” says Cassi St. Louis, a Charlie Health Care Coach of nearly a year.

Crisis Managers 

Crisis Managers are fully licensed mental health professionals with ample experience working with high-acuity clients. “Our Crisis Managers are a safety net for the clients and families we serve, ensuring higher-risk clients are wrapped around and supported between group and individual sessions,” explains Maggie Vitello, MSW, LCSW, the Director of Crisis Response. “They provide risk assessment, safety planning, and de-escalation, in addition to consultation and clinical guidance to the treatment team when a client is in acute distress or has elevated clinical needs.”

Individual and Family Therapists

Individual and Family Therapists at Charlie Health are proficient in risk assessment and safety planning. They can involve Crisis Managers at any point to assist with client support during individual and family therapy sessions. This comprehensive approach ensures that clients receive the necessary support and resources tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

How Charlie Health supports clients in crisis

Charlie Health’s crisis services are accessible to clients 24/7, extending support beyond treatment hours. Our comprehensive crisis services are designed with one goal in mind: to ensure the safety and ongoing care of our clients for as long as they require. 

During treatment sessions, clients have the invaluable support of Care Coaches and Crisis Managers. Additionally, outside of scheduled sessions, clients can rely on our multiple support hotlines, staffed by compassionate professionals who provide immediate care. Here’s an in-depth explanation of how these crisis services operate during and outside treatment sessions.

Crisis services during treatment sessions

If a client needs to meet with a Care Coach during a group session, they can request a one-on-one meeting at any time by telling an administrator they need more support or asking a Group Facilitator directly to meet with a Care Coach. “Sometimes there are big triggers and topics that come up in a group, and it’s super unique that we have an option for clients to be able to step out of that group space, process for a little bit, and then return to the group,” says St. Louis.

Once a client is done meeting with the Care Coach, the Care Coach then ensures that all parties involved in their care know how they’re doing to maintain continuity of care and support. “After a client meets with me, I involve all the stakeholders in their care to make sure they’re on the same page. That means the client’s Primary Therapist, parents if necessary, and Crisis Manager if necessary,” says Gari Pan Francois, who served as a Charlie Health Care Coach for nearly two years.

In most instances, clients can take a breather and regulate with a Care Coach until they feel prepared to rejoin their groups and continue their treatment for the day. However, there are situations where additional support is necessary — like a client experiencing active suicidal ideation or self-harm or someone feeling too dysregulated to return to their group for the day. In such cases, Crisis Managers step in as the following line of support. They collaborate with clients and their families, providing safety planning, follow-up check-ins, and ongoing consultation with relevant stakeholders as needed to ensure continued safety and well-being.

Crisis services outside of treatment sessions

As mentioned, Charlie Health’s crisis services extend beyond treatment sessions, offering round-the-clock support with a range of options available at any hour. Clients and their families have access to emergency hotlines staffed by Charlie Health Crisis Managers as well as crisis specialists external to Charlie Health. This comprehensive approach ensures that clients receive the necessary support whenever they need it, even outside of scheduled treatment sessions.

Why an IOP is ideal for clients in crisis

An IOP is a meaningful treatment option for clients navigating mental health crises because these people are considered high acuity — meaning they need more intensive care for their safety and well-being than once-weekly therapy. 

An IOP offers that support and structure, with multiple sessions per week, while allowing people to maintain connections at home, work, and with family members. This structure allows people in crisis to engage in treatment without disrupting their lives entirely. They can maintain connections and get support during distressing times. 

In Charlie Health’s virtual IOP, a typical schedule involves:

  • 1 hour of individual therapy every week
  • 1 to 2 hours of family therapy every week
  • 3 hours of group sessions 3 days a week 

Also, some clients who are dealing with mental health crises may be leaving more intensive levels of care, such as inpatient or residential programs. An IOP provides a structured yet less restrictive environment that supports continued progress.

A teenager and her mom look into getting support at Charlie Health.

Get support at Charlie Health

If you or a loved one needs some extra mental health support, Charlie Health may be able to help. Charlie Health’s virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides more than once-weekly mental health treatment for young people and families dealing with serious mental health conditions, including clients in crisis. Our expert clinicians incorporate evidence-based therapies into individual counseling, family therapy, and group sessions. With this kind of holistic treatment, managing serious mental health issues is possible. Fill out the form below or give us a call to start healing today.

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