Identifying and Recovering from a Mental Health Crisis
Mental health is an important part of overall wellness, but it is often treated as a secondary concern. Many people don’t think mental health crises are “real”, but just the opposite is true; mental health crises are important and much more common than many people would like to thank. Although it can be difficult to deal with, it’s vital to both know how to identify and recover from a mental health crisis if you or another person are at risk for these episodes.
Online info service for individuals, families, caregivers & agencies; mental health, Substance use, IDD, Veterans.
Youth Crisis Hotline
A 24-hour hotline for any crisis – from pregnancy to drugs to depression.
Text CONNECT to 74174
Icare Crisis Line
For mental health and substance use emergency support and referral (MHMR of Tarrant County).
What is considered a “Mental Health Crisis”?
A mental health crisis can be many things to different people, but it’s always an intense situation where a person’s feelings or behaviors can lead them to hurt either themselves or other people. A mental health crisis can also cause people to become unable to function healthily in their communities or take care of themselves.
One example of a mental health crisis is a sudden bout of depression, or a manic episode if an individual has bipolar disorder. In the former scenario, the individual may express an urge for suicide to a friend or family member. In the latter scenario, the victim of the mental health crisis could go for an unsafe drive without wearing a seatbelt.
In these circumstances, the victim can no longer take care of themselves and may in fact be a danger to themselves and others.
However, it’s important to recognize that a mental health crisis is a physical condition. It’s not merely “in the head” or something that someone can just turn off like the flip of a switch. People who experience it need ongoing support and medical attention if they hope to recover and avoid harming themselves or others.
If you are suffering from a mental health crisis, remember that you are not at fault for the problem. You are also not alone – Recognize & Rise has many resources you can take advantage of to get back on your feet and overcome the crisis at hand.
Causes of a mental health crisis
Mental health crises can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Difficulties at home or school
Traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a loved one or a debilitating injury
Mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
When medication for mental health disorders stop working or are no longer taken
Regardless, mental health crises are never the fault of the person experiencing them. While some individuals may be more at risk for mental health crises than others, mental health is important to all of us. We should band together to support one another both during emergencies and in general.
What are the signs of a mental health emergency?
Behavioral or mental health crises can be determined due to several signs. But it’s also important to remember that there’s no single sign that a person is experiencing a mental health emergency or behavioral crisis. The warning signs for a mental health crisis vary from individual to individual based on their personality, their circumstances, and the nature of the crisis itself.
Some of the most common signs of a mental health crisis include:
Being unable or uninterested in completing daily tasks, such as those related to hygiene or maintenance i.e. not brushing their teeth, not getting dressed, not bathing, etc.
Communicating verbally or in writing that they are thinking about death or that they are considering suicide
Social withdrawal, such as no longer spending time with friends or family or no longer acting like themselves in social situations
Dramatic shifts in mood, both positive and negative
Shifts in regular behavior, such as sleeping or eating patterns, or pursuing risky sexual behavior
Showing generally impulsive and/or reckless behavior, or being more aggressive than normal
It can be difficult to determine if an individual is suffering from a mental health crisis or if something else is happening. You may wish to consult a medical practitioner or doctor for an official diagnosis. However, if you suspect a loved one is undergoing a mental health crisis, the most important thing to do is communicate with them.
Show them that you care and ask them tough questions necessary to get to the bottom of the issue and show them the support they need.
How long does it take to recover from a mental health crisis?
The recovery period for a mental health crisis can vary depending on the individual and the nature of the crisis itself. However, most of the immediate symptoms or dangers are alleviated within a few days with proper treatment. Long-term, lasting recovery may take several months or years.
What is the recovery process in mental illness?
Recovery from a mental health crisis is a thorough process of change that helps individuals improve their overall wellness and physical health and achieve their full potential by living a self-directed, confident life. Recovery typically takes on four dimensions:
Health, which focuses on making healthy and informed choices for physical and emotional wellness
Home, involving having a safe and stable place in which to live
Community, focusing on building support networks and relationships
Purpose, which helps individuals engage in meaningful activities
The recovery process is long and difficult for many, but it is important. Support centers and clinics like those we can connect you to at Recognize & Rise can help you take the first steps to recovery after an emergency. We’re here
Mental health crises can happen to anyone but are preventable.
How do you respond to a mental health crisis?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates that the best way to respond to a mental health crisis is to be prepared beforehand. In many cases, mental health crises are predicated by warning signs or symptoms, so if you know someone who is at risk of a mental health crisis, you should come up with an action plan before the crisis strikes.
You should also share that plan with your loved ones so they can take the steps they need to avoid a crisis before it takes over.
If you suspect a mental health crisis is occurring, you must decide who to call for help or what resources to draw upon. Recognize & Rise offers a variety of mental health and wellness tools for individuals in the Tarrant County area, including wellness exercises and support hotlines.
It can be very difficult to realize that you are in the throes of a crisis when it occurs. But above all else, remember that you aren’t alone: people can and will stand by you if you reach out for help.
When do you need immediate help?
It can be difficult to know when you need immediate help, such as emergency care. If you experience a mental health crisis, you should get immediate help if you experience the following symptoms:
You are thinking about ending your life
You are unable to care for yourself and it puts you at risk of harm
If you believe you are experiencing sensations that aren’t real
You are experiencing medication or substance problems, such as alcohol or drug overdose
You have taken a dangerous combination of controlled substances, like alcohol and antianxiety medication
Don’t wait. Every minute matters. Contact support hotlines or dial 911 immediately if you need assistance.
How to recognize a mental health crisis and intervene
Mental health crises can also be difficult for people around victims. In these circumstances, loved ones or friends must know how to recognize a mental health crisis in their companions and how to intervene properly.
Perhaps most importantly of all, if you suspect a person is in immediate danger to themselves or another person, don’t hesitate to call emergency authorities ASAP. Tell them that you are with someone currently experiencing a mental or behavioral crisis.
However, if an individual is not in immediate danger, you can instead reach out to their doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist if they have any of these professionals working with them. Such professionals are often the best resources to not only handle a mental health crisis now but also to help overcome it in the future.
If these resources are not available for whatever reason, you can personally help a loved one get through a crisis and help de-escalate the situation before you call 911, a health professional, or family members.
Good tactics to use include:
Keeping your voice low and calm
Listening to the person and not arguing
Avoiding judgmental or potentially hostile comments
Avoid continuous eye contact and stay with the person throughout the duration of the crisis
Don’t overreact to what they say or do, even if it seems difficult
Be patient and offer options for help rather than taking control of the situation
Tell the person what you plan to do before initiating any action
Start recovering from a mental health crisis today
There’s no better time than the present to start recovering from a mental health crisis or to put an action plan into place to protect yourself and other people if a crisis occurs in the future.
With Recognize & Rise, we can all rise together and create the support we need to overcome the unique challenges inherent in mental health challenges. Together we can ensure that no one feels alone or left behind during these difficult episodes.
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www.tarrantcares.org Online info service for individuals, families, caregivers & agencies; mental health, Substance use, IDD, Veterans.
No official endorsement by the Mental Health Connection or its membership for the information on this web site is intended or should be inferred. The materials contained on this site are made available for educational purposes only and are not meant to serve as medical advice or to replace consultation with your physician or mental health professional. Information about diagnosis and treatment that appears on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a mental health problem. You are advised to consult a qualified mental health care provider about your personal questions or concerns. The views and opinions of authors expressed on this site do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Mental Health Connection or its membership. Links to external websites are provided for convenience of reference only and are not intended as an endorsement of the organization or a warranty of any type of information on the site.