Mental health emergencies require prompt and sensitive intervention. However, those who lack experience in dealing with crises may be at a loss about how to prevent negative outcomes from occurring. If you notice yourself or a loved one undergoing such difficulties, contact an agency that provides impactful mental health services to individuals and families in need.
To prepare for mental health emergencies, set up a crisis plan with someone you trust. This protocol should involve:
- Evaluating the environment in which the emergency occurs
- Identifying your personal support network
- Developing and using coping mechanisms
- Contacting a mental health expert
To read more about these steps, see below.
Therapeutic Alliance has mental health agency locations throughout Virginia. We offer support for patients who need immediate assistance alongside several more services: individual treatments, family counseling, autism behavior services, and more. Allow us to help you or your loved one to work through mental health issues and live independently.
Below, we define what qualifies as a mental health emergency as well as the best steps to take when one occurs:
What is a Mental Health Emergency?
Living with a mental illness can make stress-inducing situations challenging. At such moments, the brain and body may send “red alert” signals that put the sufferer in a dangerous state of mind. These kinds of reactions – in both malignant and benign situations – are mental health crises.
A mental health emergency or crisis may result in a self-inflicted injury or conflict with local authorities. Worse, the victim may start planning to take their own life or hurt others. One goal of mental health services is to prevent such scenarios from arising and providing sufferers with steps to fulfill should one occur.
We offer In-Home Services, in part, to help patients ages 4-18 deal with these crises when they occur at home. Likewise, our Mental Health Skill Building services help adult patients build life skills for dealing with mental health concerns. Children, adolescents, and adults may require such support after a significant mental health event, especially in establishing ways to handle the “red alert” signals.
Steps to Take Before & During a Mental Health Emergency
- Develop a Plan with Someone You Trust
Mental health crises can occur when we least expect them. Although sufferers may exhibit warning signs, they can also hide or ignore them. Thus, you should develop an emergency plan for yourself or your loved one before a crisis happens.
As outlined below, your plan should involve assessing the incident’s circumstances, contacting your support system, applying coping mechanisms, and connecting with a mental health expert. Furthermore, you should create this plan with one or more individuals that you trust. Doing so helps them understand your needs and facilitate the crisis plan. Sharing can also help you feel more at ease about your symptoms.
- Evaluate Your Situational Environment
Therapeutic Alliance’s In-Home Services can help youth patients to avoid mental health emergencies or to de-escalate crises that arise. We treat children and teenagers in their homes so that they can adapt our work to their particular surroundings.
If a mental health emergency arises, you and/or they can take recourse in the strategies that our services teach. First, consider whether the situation requires immediate treatment. For instance, if you have a plan to kill yourself, seek immediate medical support (thinking about a method to do so qualifies as planning).
- Recognize Your Support System
Our professionals incorporate family members and the home environment into their work to encourage a supportive community. Indeed, the services themselves can contribute to the support system, bringing professional qualifications into the mix.
So, after evaluating the situation, reach out to someone you trust and ask for their support. They can help you to carry out the crisis plan that you set up beforehand. We also recommend contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, as they have professional mental health counselors available 24/7.
- Develop and Use Coping Mechanisms
Our services aim to support patients in any way possible. Yet we also recognize that patients and their families must create positive changes. Thus, in choosing In-Home Services, you can expect one coping mechanism to revolve around family dynamics.
You should have several ways to occupy and relax your or your loved one’s mind during at-risk situations. The goal is to keep busy until the crisis lessens and you can reach professional assistance. Our Specialty Areas of Service – including daily living skills and anger management – incorporate such activities.
Whether or not you or your loved one have experienced crises in the past, daily coping mechanisms can maintain and improve mental health. Ground yourself through self-reflection and consider what actions would make you feel better. Walking outdoors, meditating, writing in a journal, or talking with a friend might provide relief.
- Connect with a Counselor/Therapist
While meeting a counselor or therapist may come with the expectation of doing so in an office, that need not be the case. In-home services allow patients to remain in their comfortable environment, while staff can better determine the causes of your difficulties.
Speaking face-to-face with a trained and certified professional dramatically improves your or your loved one’s chances of recovery. With a professional, you can learn to cope with and even prevent mental health emergencies. Plus, if circumstances require you to take medication, they can prescribe it to you.
Therapeutic Alliance: Mental Health Services Across Virginia
The steps above are some of the best ways that you can respond to a mental health emergency. Yet the most significant step is to contact an experienced mental health services provider in your area. Therapeutic Alliance of Virginia has helped numerous patients in our ten-year career, providing individual treatments, family counseling, and more. Our mental health professionals are trained and certified in their respective specialties, as well as by Therapeutic Options, Inc of VA, a trusted organization in mental health crisis management. Contact us at (833) 319-0526 to learn more about our services and how we can help you through any mental health concerns you may have.