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Applying the IDEAS Framework

How to apply the IDEAS Framework
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An easy to use framework is the IDEAS action plan used by CQUniversity in managing a mental health crisis situation.

  • I – Identify immediate dangers to yourself, others and the person at risk
  • D – Deal with the initial situation; approach, assess and assist where possible with the initial crisis situation
  • E – Engage in conversation and listen non-judgmentally
  • A – Assist with information and advice about support services available. Encourage the person to see professional help
  • S – Implement self-care practices following the crisis situation

Source: CQUniversity Mind Waves Mental Health Strategy, 2018.

Identify and Manage Immediate Dangers

Check for hazards and danger to:

  • Yourself
  • Others
  • And the casualty.

Nothing should stop you from calling 000 if you think the scene is not safe.

Approach, assess and assist where possible in the initial stages of a crisis situation, the following list outlines some steps to take during the situation:

  • Call 000 in an emergency
  • Make a plan
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Offer support
  • Assist with basic tasks
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep
  • Remind the person that they have taken a big step asking for help.

Engage in conversation

  • Engage with the casualty
  • Introduce yourself
  • Ask if you can help?
  • Ask what is happening?
  • Has it happened before?
  • Engage in conversation and listen non-judgmentally.


  • Don’t panic!
  • Listen to the casualty
  • Use empathy
  • Use appropriate eye contact
  • Use non-verbal communication
  • Do not to talk too much.

Assist with information

For non-emergency situations provide information about services available:

  • Mental health professionals
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Helplines, websites, written resources.

Source: CQUniversity Mind Waves Mental Health Strategy, 2018.

© CQUniversity 2021
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