How To Deal With A Mental Health Crisis #Breakdown


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Mental Health Disorder is a diagnosable illness that affects a person’s thinking, emotional state, and behavior, and the ability to relate to others. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas; mental illness is a disorder of the brain that can make it difficult to cope with the demands of life, disrupting the person’s capability to work, carry out daily activities, and engage in satisfying relationships.

One out of five adults experiences mental illness in a given year. Yet, only 41 percent of people with a mental health illness use mental health services within a given year. In addition, some experience a substance use condition along with their co-occurring mental illness. Mental Health costs the United States 193.2 Billion in lost earnings per year.

Common Mental Health Disorders:

Depressive Disorders
Bipolar Disorders
Anxiety Disorders

Diagnosis is based on clinical observations of behavior in the person and reports from others close to them. However, symptoms vary from one person to the other and each person responds differently which then complicates getting an accurate diagnosis.What is a Mental Health Crisis?

A mental health crisis is any situation in which a person’s behavior puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others and or prevents them from being able to care for themselves or function effectively in the community.

Many things can lead to a mental health crisis and examples of situations that can lead or contribute to a crisis include:

Home or environmental stressors
School/work stressors
Using or abusing drugs/alcohol
Starting new medication or new dosage of current medication
Stopping medication or missing doses
Treatment stops working
Some individuals who are dealing with a mental health illness may not exhibit any warning signs. Please remember no one is to blame, not the person or the family.

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Warning Signs of a Mental Health Crisis

It is important to know and recognize the warning signs that an individual may be struggling with so that you can support them in the best way possible.

Inability to perform daily tasks, bathing, getting dressed, etc.
Rapid mood swings
Increased agitation, risk-taking/out of control behavior
Abusive behavior to self or someone else
Isolation from school, work, family, and friends
Loss of touch with reality

When the Crisis Involves the Risk of Suicide

Risk of suicide is a major concern for anyone with a mental health condition and those who love them. Encouraging someone to get help is the first step towards safety.

People who attempt suicide usually feel:

overwhelming emotional pain, loneliness, worthlessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, frustration, shame, guilt, rage, and sometimes self-hatred.
Social isolation
Any talk of suicide MUST always be taken seriously. If someone has attempted suicide before the risk is even greater.

Giving away personal possessions
Talking as if saying goodbye
Stockpiling pills or obtaining a weapon
Taking steps to tie up loose ends
Making or changing a will
Preoccupation with death
Sudden cheerfulness or calm after being despondent
Increased drug or alcohol use
Dramatic changes in personality, mood, and/or behavior
Saying things like: “Nothing matters anymore.”, “You’ll be better off without me.”, and “Life isn’t worth living.”
Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities/interests
Failed romantic relationships
History of suicide attempts or family or friend suicide attempts
How to Talk to Someone at Risk of Suicide

Open the conversation by sharing specific signs you noticed. For example:

“I have noticed lately that you have not been sleeping, you are not interested in basketball anymore, you are posting a lot of sad songs online.”

The next question should establish if they are thinking about or planning for suicide. This can be along the lines of:

“Are you thinking about suicide?”, “Do you have a plan?”, “Do you know how you would do it?”, “When was the last time you thought about suicide?”

If the answer is yes or if you think they might be at risk of suicide you must seek help immediately.

Call a healthcare professional who has been working with the person, preferably their therapist or psychiatrist/physician if they have one. (It is a good idea to obtain this person’s contact information in advance so you have it on hand quickly if ever needed.)
Remove things like weapons and medications.
Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255.
Listen, offer support and assurance, focus on being understanding, caring, and nonjudgmental.
Carrier Clinic’s® Psychiatric Acute Care Unit Director, Jacqueline Bienenstock, DNP, RN-BC

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