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Decoding De-escalation

In today’s world, the ability to manage and diffuse potentially volatile situations is more crucial than ever. Mastering de-escalation techniques can help ensure safety, build trust, and create positive outcomes for all involved.

Our goal is to provide you with actionable tools and insights that you can apply in real-world scenarios. By the end of this series, you will be better prepared to handle challenging interactions with confidence and empathy, ultimately contributing to a safer and more respectful environment for everyone.

Thank you for committing to this important training. Let’s get started on the path to mastering de-escalation.

Week 1: Decoding De-escalation - Counteracting Crisis

Warning:  This week's video addresses the topic of suicide. In the story, a young man on a bridge contemplates jumping to take his own life.  Resources are provided below for anyone struggling with or who knows someone struggling with suicidal ideation.  You are also welcome to omit this week's video if you feel the topic may be difficult for you.

After watching the video, please review the following questions:

Discussion Questions:

1. ​The video mentions proxemics, broadly defined as how physical distance impacts human behavior and emotion. Why is understanding proxemics so vital to de-escalating a situation? Can you give an example in the workplace when physical proximity impacted the outcome of an interaction?

2. The video notes that it's often more important to listen with empathy rather than to know exactly what to say. Do you find this to be a relief or a struggle? What are some tools for active listening that you can use?

For more information on active listening:

3. This video addresses the very difficult topic of suicide. Take this time to discuss with your team how you would handle the following situations:

  • Someone expresses that they want to go home and end things. You're not sure if they are joking. What steps do you take next?

  • A co-worker has seemed stressed or anxious lately. They have started to make comments like "I'm exhausted by life" and "I'm not sure how to keep going." Even though they have not mentioned suicide, their statements have been concerning. What steps do you take next?

  • A co-worker mentions that they are going to go out to their car in the parking lot to get a gun and end it. What steps do you take next?

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