Mental Health Emergencies: What to Do and How to Help

When the going gets tough, knowing what to do, especially during mental health emergencies, could save a life.

A physical crisis is easier to understand. Something like a broken leg or a sprained arm is something we can see, comprehend, and even patch up ourselves with the right guidance.

But a psychiatric crisis could happen when you least expect it to and not even show the worst symptoms until it’s far too late. In this blog, we’ll delve into five common ways to extend support:

Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts

When someone’s grappling with thoughts of suicide or might be planning to harm themselves, quick action NEEDS to be taken.

Listen well and show you’re there for them. Assure them they’re not walking this path alone. 

Dial emergency services or a crisis hotline right away. And if any items within reach could be used for self-harm, toss them aside.

Dealing with Acute Psychosis

Imagine grappling with sights or beliefs that aren’t tethered to reality.

If you find yourself in the company of someone undergoing this, keep your cool and communicate calmly and clearly. 

Refrain from sparring with their perceptions or attempting to alter their mindset; instead, validate their emotions.

Severe Anxiety or Panic Attacks

Panic attacks and severe anxiety can feel like the world’s crumbling around you.

If someone’s caught in the grip of one, scout out a tranquil, secure spot to help them find their footing. Prompt them to take unhurried, deep breaths and experiment with grounding techniques like fixating on objects or uttering soothing phrases. 

Stand by their side, offer a comforting embrace if welcomed, and refrain from belittling their ordeal or insecurities.

Substance Abuse

Mental health emergencies can come from substance abuse alcohol or drugs.

Gauge their level of consciousness and monitor their breathing and other vital signs. If they’re unresponsive or exhibiting alarming symptoms like respiratory distress, make a beeline for emergency services. 

Keep a calm and cozy environment while awaiting assistance. Abstain from casting judgment – just be a shoulder to lean on. 

Dealing with Aggressive or Violent Behavior

When faced with aggression or violence, the paramount concern is everyone’s safety. 

Keep your cool, communicate calmly, and create some distance if necessary. Rid the vicinity of anything that could serve as a weapon. 

If they’re amenable, lend an ear as they share their feelings. If matters escalate or feel perilous, don’t hesitate to call for emergency assistance. 

Once the immediate threat is neutralized, advocate for them to seek professional aid and explore strategies for managing their emotions more effectively.

Remember, in any mental health emergency, safety reigns supreme. Extend a helping hand and assist them in procuring professional aid if necessary. 

Be ready with kindness and empathy, we can guide those going through trying times to the road of healing and recovery.

For more handy guides on routines that improve your mental well-being, visit us at Mid Cities Psychiatry; we would be happy to tell you more!

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