Working with Young Lions

De-escalation of Aggressive/Emotionally Disturbed Youth

What is true in general – that one has limited time in which to establish a communication mode that minimizes risk of violence with agitated or emotionally disturbed individuals – is particularly true with youthful individuals.  Some de-escalation skills are general for anyone, but there are also best practice strategies to use when working with youth.  Young people can often be directed away from violence by specific communication skills. Verbal de-escalation techniques are geared to ‘set up’ those being contained so that physical control techniques, if they are to be used, are enhanced, if they become necessary. When the public is witness to successful verbal de-escalation, they better understand and respect the challenges facing those responsible for managing the behavior of aggressive youth, and this can contribute to future safety for others in your profession.

Successful verbal de-escalation also sets a precedent with emotionally disturbed young people who are likely to have many encounters with law enforcement, security officers, or social services personnel.. At the next meeting, they are more likely to have an expectation that they will be talked down rather than taken down, unless that is absolutely necessary. .

Edgework training includes improving one’s ability to recognize patterns of behavior as indicative of mentally illness or other emotional disturbance, how to communicate with young people based on the type of behavior they are presenting, and dealing with aggressive and suicidal youth,s.

Essential Information

Street Assessment

  • Recognizing types of mental illness and emotional disturbance
  • Understanding the typical diagnoses associated with young people and putting them into perspective–interveners will get broad based strategies that are associated with behavior, not specific causes.
  • Communicating with youth suffering from mental illness

Aggressive Youth

  • Calming angry individuals, mentally ill or not
  • Verbal de-escalation and control of young people on the edge of violence

Suicidal Youth

  • Assessing likelihood of self-harm
  • Intervention techniques

Dealing with the System

  • Effective liaison with child protective services and mental health professionals
CIT Teams: for law enforcement, parole/probation and corrections
  • This training can serve as a stand-alone training of ½ day or a full day.
  • “Young Lions” can also serve as a specific module as part of a CIT training
  • Often when presented as ½ day, it is linked to another ½ day training


Please read FAQ on Edgework Methodology