Before a Mental Health Crisis Occurs

Please Consider Taking Some of the Following Steps:

As a caregiver, plan and think ahead. Know what steps to take if the mentally ill individual experiences a crisis. Locate available sources for help such as the individual’s therapist, the Crisis Center that covers your area, helpful friends or neighbors and your local NAMI affiliate. Keep these numbers posted by your telephone. If you have private insurance, contact the member services to find out what services are covered before they are needed. (Some insurance coverage includes only outpatient doctor visits and inpatient hospitalization). Some employers have employee assistance programs (EAP) that can offer resources to family members of employees. Contact the EAP to find out what, if any, resources they can provide.

Keep a diary or thorough notes about:

  1. The individual’s diagnosis and medical conditions;
  2. Medications being taken as well as medications not tolerated; and
  3. Specific behaviors and actions that preceded and followed the crisis.

When needed, you may provide a copy of this information to the Crisis Team, mental health professionals or the police. Contact Crisis Services at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health and ask about their procedures and what to expect. The Crisis Team will meet with the person in crisis to develop an action plan that includes what they want and don’t want to happen. Write down as many of your questions as you can think of before picking up the phone and dialing the number. This way, your thoughts are somewhat organized and you stand a chance of getting as much information as possible.

If you have a mental illness, consider alternative options such as:

  • Warmlines
  • Recovery Learning Centers
  • Support Groups
  • Respite programs and Stabilization units
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating appropriate meals
  • Maintaining a regular schedule with time off for fun and relaxation
  • And most importantly, get an adequate amount of sleep.