Course Summary

Practice Level: Intermediate

This course is part of a 3-course series on Crisis Care and Service Systems Substance abuse and mental illness crisis situations occur in all communities. This series presents SAMHSA’s national guidelines and best practices for crisis care, which can be used to strengthen crisis care and reduce the impact of substance abuse, acute mental illness, and suicide in America. The courses in this Crisis Care and Service Systems series are:

SAMHSA’s National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care: Best Practice Toolkit

Crisis Services Implementation and Infrastructure

Crisis Care for Various Populations

With alarming rate increases in suicides, overdose deaths, and individuals with disabilities in the criminal system, a comprehensive and integrated crisis network is crucial. An effective crisis network is one that implements a multi-disciplinary response as well as uses brief, intermediate, and long-term approaches to crisis care. Crisis Service Papers Building on SAMHSA’s National Guidelines explores opportunities and challenges to consider when implementing and delivering crisis services as well as strategies to enhance crises response. The purpose of this course is to support social workers, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and counselors, working within crisis care systems in implementing and/or working collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary crisis response team.

Clinicians can use the discussions on opportunities and challenges to help inform their role in crises care. This practice-focused learning material also offers providers information on technologies and strategies that crisis teams can use to facilitate and enhance the delivery of behavioral health crisis services. Other topics covered include and are not limited to legal and regulatory issues and the role of law enforcement in crisis care. Upon completion of this course, providers will be able to respond more effectively to individuals experiencing behavior health crisis.

Course Format

This course contains downloadable online lessons (PDF) and a practice test. When you’re ready, purchase the course by clicking the “Add To Cart” or “Enroll” button. This will let you take the test, complete the course evaluation and receive your certificate for CE credits.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe core elements and services included in the crisis continuum.
  2. Explain the positive effect that specialized teams, interventions, and approaches have on crisis situations.
  3. Identify ways in which technology is used to improve delivery of crisis services.
  4. Explain the role of legal and regulatory issues in behavioral health emergencies.
  5. Recognize challenges to receiving and delivering behavioral health crisis services in rural and frontier areas.
  6. Differentiate the responses of law enforcement and behavioral health crisis teams in crisis care.

Course Syllabus

Crisis Services: Meeting Needs, Saving Lives


The Crisis Continuum

Examples of Effective Crisis Services

Pathways in Crisis Services

The Evolving Role of Law Enforcement and Mobile Crisis Responses

Person-Centered Crisis Care

Supporting the Crisis Infrastructure, From Laws to Technology

Crisis Services During COVID-19 and Beyond


Using Technology to Improve the Delivery of Behavioral Health Crisis Services in the U.S.

Introduction and Methodology

Marketing Crisis Services through Digital Media

Using Technology to Improve Crisis Hotlines & Text Lines

  • Crisis Text Lines
  • Emotional Support Lines for Healthcare and Frontline Workers During COVID-19
  • 988: The Future of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline
  • National Crisis Text Line

Using Technology to Improve Mobile Crisis Response

Using Technology to Improve Access to Crisis Receiving and Stabilization Facilities

The Future of Technology in the Delivery of Behavioral Health Crisis Services


  • Broadband Access
  • Financing
  • Privacy Concerns
  • Efficacy and Safety of Technological Applications

Legal Issues in Crisis Services


Emergency Involuntary Holds, Civil Commitment and Assisted Outpatient Treatment

  • Orders and Crisis Services

The Role of Guardians in Crisis Services

Restraint/Seclusion in Crisis Services

Confidentiality and Duty to Protect Others in Crisis Services

Role of Crisis Service Providers in States with Red Flag or Extreme Risk Protection Orders

The Role of Law Enforcement, Legal Regulation of Crisis Services, and the Criminal

  • Justice System

Crisis Centers and EMTALA

Covid-19 Related Legal Issues Relevant to Crisis Services

Risk Management and Liability with Crisis Centers


Strategies for the Delivery of Behavioral Health Crisis Services in Rural and Frontier Areas of the U.S.

Behavioral Health Crisis Workforce in Rural Areas

  • Alaska
  • Colorado

Distance to Travel and Transportation to Crisis Services

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • South Carolina

Cultural Differences and Stigma Associated with Behavioral Health


Other Effects of COVID-19 on Crisis Services in Rural & Frontier Areas

Implications for Policy Makers

Cops, Clinicians, or Both? Collaborative Approaches to Responding to Behavioral Health Emergencies

Defining the Issue

Law Enforcement Responses

  • CIT and Training
  • Beyond CIT: Dedicated Specialty Teams

BH Crisis Response

  • Crisis Call Centers and “Care Traffic Control”
  • Mobile Crisis Teams
  • Co-Responder Teams
  • Specialized Crisis Facilities
  • Post-Crisis Care

Advanced Systems

  • Crisis Services vs. Crisis Systems
  • “One Mind” Law Enforcement Organizations
  • Cost Savings Across Systems

Policy Implications

  • Civil Commitment and Mental Health Transports
  • Regulations and Accreditation Standards
  • Financing
  • Data Sharing and Quality Improvement
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration
  • Disparities, Inequity, and Explicit Bias




The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA leads public health efforts that advance the behavioral health of the nation. On SAMHSA states that its mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on communities in America.

William A. Cook, PhD

William A. Cook, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who worked for 15 years in private practice in Montana before leaving his practice to work full time as the Director of CE4Less. He earned his doctorate degree from Texas A&M University, and focused much of his psychology practice in the area of child and family counseling, as well as psychological testing. Dr. Cook likes new challenges, foreign traveling to Africa and areas of Europe and the near East, scuba diving, running, music, and spending time with his family.

Accreditation Approval Statements is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content., provider #1115, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period: 08/08/21-08/08/24. Social workers completing this course receive 5 general continuing education credits. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6991. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Courses have been approved by, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #91345 is responsible for all aspects of the programming.

We are committed to providing our learners with unbiased information. CE4Less never accepts commercial support and our authors have no significant financial or other conflicts of interest pertaining to the material.

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