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Occasionally, you may need to respond to a mental health crisis, either for yourself, or someone you know. When this happens, it helps to know how to respond in a healthy, productive manner.

The fast task, though, is to identify the signs of a mental health crisis. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as everyone’s mind is different. Usually, a mental health crisis comprises a severe anxiety attack, depression, or schizophrenic episodes. However, the precise format will depend on the individual’s condition or preceding diagnosis. 

The following general rules apply well. Remember, a person experiencing a mental health crisis is often experiencing a different reality. Things might seem fine to you, but to the affected person, the problems are real.

Don't Confront

When approaching somebody in a mental health crisis, don’t confront them or tell them they are sick (and don't tell them they're fine). Instead, try to focus on their feelings and experience so you can get a better idea of what they are going through. Usually, they will conclude that they are not well by themselves, without you having to first put the idea in their minds.

Ask If There Is Somebody They Want To Contact

Often, people going through mental health crises have somebody in mind that could help them in their current predicament. It could be a family member, friend or professional. Getting them to communicate with this trusted person is an important step to guiding them towards a greater sense of wellness. 

Provide Practical Information And Resources

If possible, try to make a person’s mental health more of an external thing that is just “happening to them,” instead of something that they generate themselves. To do this, provide practical help wherever possible. Offer to connect them with resources or charities that can provide help. 

Ask Them What Would Help

Recently, Covid 19 mental health has been a real issue. But in many cases, just asking people what would help can be a great way to help them feel better. Try asking what you can do and then make the arrangements. 

Acknowledge How They Feel

Accept how the other person feels and listen carefully to what they say. For some people, a mental health problem can be frightening or upsetting. Just tell them you’re there for them and by their side. Don’t dismiss their experiences. Instead, be somebody they can talk to about how they feel. 

When somebody is experiencing a mental health issue, it can distress them, especially if they are suicidal. If you feel distressed, you don’t have to deal with the issue alone. You can always pass them over to charities like the Samaritans or mental health professionals with training in dealing with such situations. 

Get First Aid

Sometimes people with mental health issues may decide to hurt themselves. If they do, you can provide first aid. Look up local first aid courses in your area to learn how to offer first aid safely, so you don't get hurt or exposed to something in the process.

Dealing with a mental health crisis is a challenge. But there are many ways you can help. What’s more, you don’t need any special training. Simply offering support and connecting the affected person to the right professionals can help a great deal.

This is a partnered post.

About the author 


Life & mindset coach, writer, host of podcast This is Type 1: Real Life with Type 1 Diabetes, and full-time analyst in the power industry. I'm passionate about showing people that how we think determines our realities.

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