Mental Healh Crises

What Is A Crisis

A mental health crisis is when someone is at risk of harming themselves or others, or if their
emotions and behavior seems out of control. Warning signs of a mental health crisis may include:

  • Expressing suicidal thoughts
  • making threats to harm others or themselves
  • engaging in self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting or burning
  • expressing severe agitation and aggression, including physical aggression, destruction of property, hostility, etc.
  • experiencing hallucinations or delusions,
  • isolating themselves from friends and family

How to Take Action

If you feel that someone else’s life is in immediate danger, this is an emergency – take immediate action. Call 911 (or a local crisis line) or go to your nearest emergency room. Under no circumstances should you leave them alone.

Tips for Calling 911

  1. Let 911 operators know that the person is experiencing a mental health crisis. Many communities have responders trained to support indivisuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
  2. Specifically ask if there is a crisis intervention team. These specialists are trained to intervene in these situations. Provide as much detail as possible about the situation.

If you are sure that the person is not at immediate risk, and that you can manage the situation. Please consider the following steps.

  1. Create a safe space for them to talk about their feelings and actively listen. It’s ok to ask questions, but most importantly, reassure them that you are here to support and help them.
  2. If the person is already receiving mental health treatment, get in touch with their doctor or therapist. They can provide assistance of what to do next.
  3. If the person is not receiving treatment, they will need a mental health assessment. You may be able to get a referral from their primary care physician.
  4. Connect with a hotline or text line that provides crisis intervention services and resources, such as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  5. Create a crisis or safety plan to determine your plan of action if the person’s mental health ever turns into an emergency.

Safety Plan Information

Other Helpful Information

Adapted from NAMI and Navigating a Mental Health Crisis Guide and the Fayette County Family Council