What is a Crisis?

A crisis is a turning point, a decisive moment. However frightening it is to parents and to a child, a crisis is a great opportunity. So much is brought into the open, much that may not have been seen in the relative orderliness of a psychiatrist’s office. Everyone is driven to work to remedy these painful developments, as ready as they’ll ever be. The challenge is not to “band-aid” it, not to merely soothe and nudge things back to where they were — the challenge is to grasp the chance and move ahead.

Massachusetts state’s child and adolescent mobile crisis intervention programs came about as a result of a lawsuit (“Rosie D vs Commonwealth of Massachusetts”), which was won by “Rosie D”. The court mandated that the state improve their services to children with mental health needs. Crisis work was one of the foremost of these. This program has worked.

What is a Crisis Psychiatrist?

Dr. M David Kurland is currently the child psychiatrist for 4 mobile crisis teams. They respond rapidly and with great effectiveness.

The crisis psychiatrist deals with issues of suicidal and violent risk and with severe and more sudden breakdowns in a child’s mental state. The crisis is often the result of a breakdown in the system around the child.

The child psychiatrist in a crisis program sees problems in a dimension quite apart from the relative calm of an office. He brings the experience back to his practice to the advantage of his patients. By knowing what happens to children when so much fails in their lives and in themselves, he forms a high regard for the strengths that children and their parents bring to their challenges. He becomes adept at building strengths and respecting those strengths which are already accessible. If some crisis hits a child in his practice, he finds the means to avoid a hospitalization or other placement.


  • 4 Crisis Programs, Department of Mental Heath (5/10 – Present)
  • Brief Emergency Residential Programs, St. Vincent’s Home (6/98 – 5/10)
  • Director, Emergency Child Psychiatry Service, State of CT (1970 – 1973)