The State of America’s Direct Support Workforce Crisis 2022

The longstanding direct support workforce crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to closures of critically needed services and a denial of access to community-based supports.
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Connections - 09.30.22

Key Findings from Relias’ 2022 Crisis Prevention & Intervention Training Report

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To gain insight into the current state of training for crisis prevention and intervention among behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) professionals, Relias conducted a survey of over 2,000 human services professionals.

We hope that by reviewing the high-level insights that this survey yielded, we can help leaders improve how they train their staff to mitigate crisis situations.

Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Options

To begin, we found most respondents only receive crisis prevention and intervention (CPI) training once per year. Despite this low frequency, the high demand for these skills in today’s workforce has led to a variety of training modalities becoming available on the market.

While an organization’s training choice depends on several factors, most respondents reported that their organization tends to use some form of online training. For example, of those respondents trained in crisis intervention/management:

  • 27% received blended learning.
  • 26% received online pre-recorded learning.
  • 20% received online live learning.

Taken together, 73% of respondents trained on this topic received some portion of their training online.

This trend held true across all training topics. In fact, most crisis prevention and intervention topics were taught via some element of online training, whether it was online live training, online e-learning, or a blend of live and online training.

Additionally, a majority of respondents reported that in order to increase their confidence in their CPI skills, they would want more practice of these skills, additional continuing education opportunities, and a greater variety of training options.

Choice of Interventions

To understand how staff members incorporate what they learn during their training, we asked respondents how they practice crisis prevention, intervention, and postvention.

The most notable result came from respondents working in I/DD services.

We found a notable lack of physical interventions used by I/DD respondents. Though over 50% of respondents’ organizations allow for the use of physical interventions, over 80% of respondents do not use them.

Historically speaking, physical interventions were the norm in this field for a long time. This downward trend in their use may indicate a growth in prevention techniques such as positive behavior supports.

Gearing Up for the 988 Hotline

Implemented in July 2022, the 988 hotline was created to provide greater access to behavioral healthcare and crisis intervention services across the U.S. Like 911, users can dial 988 and receive an emergency response from trained specialists.

Experts hope that 988 will increase access to behavioral healthcare while decreasing unnecessary interactions with law enforcement, mitigating further trauma for those in crisis.

Despite the potential of 988 to mitigate crises, our survey found a general lack of knowledge around it. When we conducted our survey, close to 80% of respondents reported feeling unfamiliar with the hotline.

Although we conducted this survey several months before the 988 hotline launched, this finding shows the importance of training your staff on CPI supports or working with clients referred to your organization after using 988.

To unlock insights into the state of crisis prevention and intervention training, which types of training staff want more of, and more, download the full report.

Jordan Baker is the Content Marketing Manager at Relias. Jordan is passionate about e-learning and helping learners achieve their goals. At Relias, he works with subject matter experts across disciplines to shape health care content designed to improve clinical practice, staff expertise and patient outcomes.