A crisis is a period of transition in the life of the individual, family or group, and presenting individuals with a turning point in their lives, which may be seen as a challenge or a threat, a “make or break” new possibility or risk, a gain or a loss, or both simultaneously. Most crises are part of the normal range of life experiences that most people can expect, and most people will recover from crisis without professional intervention. However, there are crises outside the bounds of a person’s everyday experience or coping resources which may require expert help to achieve recovery. A crisis can refer to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss in their ability to problem solve and to cope.  These may include natural disasters, sexual assault, criminal victimization, mental health illness, suicidal thoughts, homicide, and a drastic change in relationships and so on. We need to know the crisis well to help in treating the mental health disorders in short time.

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Therefore, in terms of mental health, what a crisis does not necessarily refer to a traumatic situation or event. It is the person’s reaction to an event. One person may be deeply affected by an event, whilst another does not suffer. The Chinese word for crisis presents a good depiction of the components of a crisis, both the positive opportunity for growth or decline and the negative idea of danger.  We often think of a crisis as an unexpected disaster, such as car loss and so on, but crisis can vary in their type and severity. 

Crises in the Life Cycle – Sometimes a crisis is predicted in terms of a predictable part of the life cycle.  An example of this is Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development.

1-Situational Crises – Such as natural disasters, accidents etc.

2-Existential Crises – Inner conflicts relating to the way we want to live our life, our purpose, spirituality and so on.

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