What to Do in Mental Health Crisis
Hi, I’m Angela, I have a husband with bipolar 2 disorder, my kids have ADHD, and I myself have struggled with depression—YOU’RE NOT ALONE! Last week we talked about how to help friends and family with mental illness, but sometimes it’s more than the ongoing mental illness it’s an emergency. This week’s mental health tips are about what to do in a mental health crisis.
When a crisis hits we can feel blindsided and unprepared. It might seem like it came out of nowhere, flipping everything upside down without warning. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and have a checklist to run through so you don’t have to depend on your memory in the middle of a highly stressful situation.
#1 Assess the situation
The first question is: are they a danger to themselves or others? If you want more information on how to assess for the risk of suicide you can check out one of my previous videos with that information. Don’t be afraid to call 911 or your local crisis line. I’ll link to all that information in the notes below.
#2 Choose responses that have the potential to de-escalate the situation.
Obviously there are no guarantees, but it’s better to have a plan instead reacting emotionally and adding to an already stressful situation. If you can call a counselor or psychiatrist for some advice prior to diving in—even better.
DON’T—assume, make accusations, or hurl judgements. It’s easy to do when we’re scared and worried, but the worst thing we can do is start an argument or try to convince them how unreasonable they are being.
DO—be the calmest person in the room, show your support and concern, ask how you can help, listen, offer options, give them space, and keep the simulation level to a minimum.
And remember that as much as we’d like to be we can’t control our loved ones. We do however get to choose what we set our hearts and minds on. I encourage you to read the passage Colossians 3:1-17, in verse 15 it says…
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NIV)
We can have peace even in the midst of turmoil.
How have you deescalated a mental health crisis with someone you love? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. And don’t miss out on next week’s video where we’ll address how to respond when you can’t deescalate.
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Practicial Solutions if Someone is Thinking About Suicide
If you or a loved are in a crisis and need help call…
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255
National Youth Crisis Line: (800) 442-HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line (text BRAVE to 741741)
Facebook Crisis Line
Southwest Washington Crisis Line: 800.626.8137 | TTY 866.835.2755
Or simply dial 911