Part 2 The Crisis Timeline

When and how changemakers can use the six phases of a crisis to foster positive mindset changes amongst disaster communities.


From disorientation to post-crisis culture

The Crisis Timeline

With the increased frequency of disruptive crises, be it extreme weather events linked to climate change or global public health crises such as Covid-19, most people will be impacted by such an event in their lifetime. Crisis represent moments of huge disruption; but if we can gain an understanding of how the mind works in these disruptions, they also offer opportunities to shift cultures and societal mindsets.

In “The Crisis Timeline” we lay out six so-called “psychological phases” that communities go through in a crisis, exploring how crises shape, and can be shaped by, collective mindsets and cultures. Below, in each of the six phases you will find a description of what to expect accompanied by a series of simple guidelines to engage and empower impacted communities.

We hope this timeline will help those working on crisis response to better understand and respond to the psychological and social states of disaster communities during a crisis.  This can lead to positive, long-term cultural shifts which will be crucial, not only for building up resilience to future crises, but also to help us tackle some of the biggest challenges humanity is facing.

Infographic The Crisis Timeline

How collective mindsets and cultures are shaped during the different phases of a crisis.

The Crisis Timeline Infographic

What’s next?

The Crisis Timeline is the second paper of the three-part series The Disrupted Mind, exploring how the human mind works during a crisis and what we can learn from this to drive change. In Part 1: Scientific Insights we illustrated the processes through which disruptive crises can catalyse societal mindset change from a more scientific perspective. The Mindworks Lab is currently developing Part 3: The Handbook which is built on the model described above and will include more detailed recommendations on how to intervene in the different phases of a crisis. We are also working on further resources such as audio content and toolkits.

We would love to receive ideas and have conversations with experts, communities and changemakers working on these issues to further improve these insights. The model we have proposed is completely open-source and we would be very happy to see it be built upon and improved.

In late 2021 Mindworks will organise a series of conversations on this work and we are also looking for people who would be interested in sharing their experiences with us. You can get in touch and share your ideas, experiences or thoughts at and sign up to our newsletter here.

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