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Delivering psychiatric care in the ED: Keeping adolescents in crisis out of limbo
Recognizing that a breakdown in child-family communication is often the real trigger for suicidal behavior, and observing that working with these families while they are in crisis can help teens come to a point where they are no longer suicidal and safe to go home, Elizabeth Wharff, PhD, MSW, LICSW, director of the Emergency Psychiatry Service at Children’s Hospital Boston, and her team have piloted a model of what they call family-based crisis intervention, or FBCI.
Carried out in the ED by a trained psychiatric clinician, FBCI aims to help the family learn how to talk to and support their teenager during a crisis, while reinforcing for teens that they can count on their parents so that they feel safe going home.