What Is a Mental Health Crisis?
With more and more items in our ever-changing world out of our control it can feel more overwhelming than ever. Many predict that even more individuals will experience a mental health crisis. But what exactly is a mental health crisis? What can we do if we see someone experiencing one? While suicide ideation is certainly a crisis and needs to be addressed by licensed professionals in a caring setting, it is not the only type.
Mental Health Crisis Definition
A mental health crisis is a situation where an individual’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors put them at risk of harming themselves or others. A crisis can also be defined as a person who is unable to care for themselves; access shelter, food or even clothing.
These situations can surface anywhere to anyone; mental health conditions do not discriminate.
Other types of mental health crises
Some people have chronic symptoms of psychosis under control and even some hallucinations are tolerable not putting them at risk. However, an acute psychosis can put a person at risk with a new delusion(s) or new auditory hallucination(s).
If the person is experiencing a new auditory hallucination or an increase they may need intervention. If the hallucinations are telling the person to do things that may harm themselves, others or break objects. For example, an auditory hallucination may include telling the person to take an ice bath to protect themselves or others around them. This would be an example of a crisis that can benefit from intervention to an inpatient behavioral health setting.
Delusions or Paranoia
During delusions or paranoia, a person can feel like everyone is out to get them and they must be ready to fight back through any means necessary. For example, if the person believes someone wants to kill them, they are afraid to go outside because they may or that all foods are poisonous – this is a mental health crisis that needs attention.
Mania or Hypomania
If mania isn’t controlled, there is a risk that the person may harm themselves or others. This can cause quick, poor judgements that put them or others at risk. Signs to look for are extreme poor judgement (example: hazardous driving), increased energy while not having regular sleep or not sleeping for days, and if their mood easily swings from angry to lashing out to sobbing.
Substance Use Induced Psychosis
Substance use or withdrawals without a safe detox environment can cause severe psychosis, hallucinations and mania. Similarly, the severity will show in the person’s mood, judgement and their level of disorganization. Above all, people in these situations can be safely helped with a proper detoxification program and inpatient behavioral health.
How to Get Help
Lifeline Connections provides short-term crisis residential services for adults experiencing an acute behavioral health crisis. The Crisis Triage and Stabilization program is an alternative to hospitalization or can decrease the length of hospitalization.
We believe in supporting the recovery, health and well-being of the patients we serve and focus on enhancing their quality of life. Admission is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (360) 205-1222 to speak to a triage nurse.