Identifying mental health crises
Mental health crisis occur when a person feels at breaking point and needs immediate help. The crisis may be referred to as a “nervous breakdown” or a “mental breakdown” by laypeople. And it is helpful to be conscious in Identifying mental health crises.
If someone exhibits the following signs, they may be in crisis:
The only option seems to be harming themselves or committing suicide.
Threaten you or someone else with harm.
An overwhelming amount of distress is being experienced
Anxiety or panic attacks are severe
Psychotic symptoms include seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations) or feeling paranoid
Disconnected from everyone and everything
Having mania or hypomania (feeling very high)
To help, you can use the following strategies:
- Concentrate on their immediate needs without making judgments.
- Find out what would be helpful to them.
- Refer to practical information or resources to reassure.
- If the person is agitated or aggressive, you should avoid confrontation if they have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
- If there is someone they would like you to contact, ask them.
- Seek appropriate professional assistance for them.
- Ensure that they receive first aid if they have injured themselves.
- A mental health problem can cause you to see, hear, or believe things that no one else does. It can be upsetting and frightening. You should gently remind the person of your purpose and identity. Be aware of how the symptoms are making them feel, but don’t reinforce or dismiss them.
Report your concerns to your supervisor or manager if the person experiencing the symptoms is a colleague or customer.
It is very important to encourage someone to get help if they are feeling suicidal or can’t go on. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by encouraging someone to seek help during a mental health emergency.
Also read; Mental Health First Aid
When you are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, follow these steps:
Put a call through to 999
Immediately take the person to the A&E department
If you have contact information for the local crisis team, please do so
For advice, you may call NHS 111 or the person’s GP (with their consent) if you are not sure whether it is an emergency. You will be referred directly to emergency services if necessary.
You might want to ask someone if they feel suicidal, you might put the idea in their head or upset them;
Having a direct conversation about feelings of suicide can be a relief for someone experiencing them, but it is important not to judge them. The question “Are you thinking of suicide?” is more appropriate than “You don’t think of doing anything stupid, do you?”