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 what to do in a mental health crisis, but sometimes it’s more than we can manage as friend or family member—we need professional help. This week’s mental health tips addresses the question: do I need a crisis intervention?
When you’ve done all you can do to de-escalate a mental health crisis and it’s just not working—what are the next steps? At this point we need a crisis intervention. We need someone who is qualified to help us navigate that process.
If the situation isn’t life threatening then it’s time to get in touch with a family doctor, a counselor, or a psychiatrist that knows your loved one and is familiar with their diagnosis. Establishing these relationships are crucial for times like these so that there’s someone who knows the history, and will be able to ascertain if an appointment or a hospital visit is in order.
If the crisis has escalated as we talked about in our last video then you need to assess if the person is a danger to themselves or others. If they are that’s an immediate call to 911 or a crisis line. I have those numbers in the notes below.
Once you’ve called the crisis line or even 911 there are some specific things to communicate:
- Make sure to tell the operator that you need immediate assistance.
- They’ll need to know who you are, your relationship with the person in crisis.
- Tell them that your loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis and what your emergency is—for example if they are suicidal, making threats of harming someone else, or damaging property.
- Let them know if there are any weapons involved.
- This isn’t the time to give a whole family history, but you’ll want to be specific and not vague about what has led to this crisis. Don’t say, “My friend is acting erratic.” Rather say, “My friend told me he hasn’t slept in 5 days and he’s pacing around the house.”
- Make sure to report any changes in their usual behavior.
- You’ll also want to let the responders know if they have shown any symptoms of psychosis. For example: losing touch with reality, having delusions, or hallucinations.
After the call the responders will be on their way. We’ll talk about what to expect next week. And let’s remember that we can trust God in the middle of these difficult times. Psalm 9:10 says…
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 (ESV)
What are your best tips in preparing for crisis? I’d love to hear from you today, comment below.
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