National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care

The need for developmentally appropriate crisis response services for youth is acute. Yet, while many crisis response systems have robust services in place for adults, there are often considerable gaps in the capacity to serve youth and families. Too often, youth experiencing behavioral health crises face hospitalization or justice system involvement, instead of the home- and community-based services they need to de-escalate and stabilize. This is especially true for youth populations that have experienced high unmet behavioral health needs, including LGBTQ+, Black, and American Indian and Alaska Native youth. 

The National Guidelines for Child and Youth Behavioral Health Crisis Care provides guidance on how states and communities can address these gaps. It offers best practices, implementation strategies, and practical guidance for the design and development of services that meet the needs of American children and their families experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Additional technical guidance is provided in a companion report produced by SAMHSA in conjunction with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, A Safe Place to Be: Crisis Stabilization Services and Other Supports for Children and Youth.

Publication Date: November 2022

This description is taken from the executive summary of the guide. This guide was created and offered by SAMHSA.

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Topic Areas

Mental Health


Mental Health Professionals, Parents & Families