How To Navigate A Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Crisis

Mental health problems affect many people today, and it comes with a stigma that makes one feel embarrassed to talk about what they’re going through. If left untreated, it can derail your overall well-being. For instance, it can alter your demeanor, thoughts, or feelings to the extent you could begin thinking about self-harm.

Perhaps you have mental health problems like schizophrenia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or eating disorders and are presently getting help from a healthcare professional. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t get triggers in the middle of your recovery.

Many things happen when you’re trying to get well, and you could have a crisis, maybe because of the recent changes in your life. A mental health crisis happens when you feel extremely overwhelmed to the point where you can’t function well and do daily activities. You could easily do something dangerous to yourself, harm the people around you, or relapse into your former condition.

This is why you need to know how to handle it effectively. With that in mind, read on below for tips to help you navigate a mental health crisis whenever it occurs:

  • Seek Help From Mental Health Facilities

You may have tried to handle the crisis at home with the self-care habits you were taught, but the feelings have become too overpowering. At this point, you wouldn’t want to risk causing harm to yourself or the people around you. It can happen when you experience panic attacks, anger, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and depression, among others. Once you get into such a crisis, it may be challenging to recover completely until the trigger is dealt with.

An excited patient sitting on the couch in the office talks about the problems to the psychologist.

For this reason, you can seek help from healthcare professionals with adequate knowledge and expertise to help you overcome your feelings. To give you an overview of what services a typical psychiatrist or counselor can help you with, you can check here.

You could even reside temporarily in a facility if you find it challenging to deal with your feelings alone. But if the mental problems become manageable, you can visit the facility daily until you overcome the crisis.

Professionals can help by suggesting different treatments depending on your symptoms, such as individual or group therapy. Alternatively, they can give your prescribed medication. They can even give you medical assistive devices and software tools to help you manage your mental health problems when they reoccur at home.

  • Learn The Signs Of a Mental Health Crisis

To navigate your mental health crisis, one must be aware of the signs to look out for. This will help you decide if you need to seek professional help immediately. Below are indications to check:

  • Insomnia: It can make you stay up late at night and may experience overwhelming thoughts. It’s dangerous if you can’t follow a healthy sleeping schedule.
  • Self-harm: You may constantly think about ending your life to get rid of negative emotions. Suicidal thoughts are alarming, and if you start entertaining them, it could mean that you’re in a crisis and need to find help immediately.
  • Hallucination: You may have psychotic episodes whereby you speak to yourself often.
  • Self-isolation: You tend to like being alone all the time and lock yourself in your room.
  • Aggression: You may find it hard to control your anger and constantly get into fights or speak harshly to people close to you.
  • Unable to function: You could have difficulty completing your responsibilities at work or school, and you may only want to stay in bed. You may also find it challenging to handle your hygiene, like bathing or changing clothes.
  • Mood shifts: You could be extremely happy or extremely sad at short intervals.
  • Extreme anxiety and panic attacks: You may find it challenging to be in social places in school or work.
  • Drug use: You may start taking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or succumb to substance abuse to the extent it interferes with your regular life. You’ll tend to hang out in bars or find harmful ways to drown your emotions.
  • Eating disorders: You feel the constant need to stress-eat or not eat at all, which may cause you to begin losing or gaining weight.
  • Paranoia: It’s when you start feeling like someone is following you or trying to hurt you all the time.
  • Having a hard time focusing: You may be unable to keep your mind at ease, whichcould affect your performance at work and school.

These changes can be so extreme that people will decide to isolate you. However, this could add more stress that may cause your mental health crisis to escalate. Therefore, look out for these signs and know when they’ve become too extreme so you can seek the necessary help. Getting the proper treatment can help get your life back on track.

  • Know What Causes The Crisis

Abrupt and constant life changes can cause you to experience a mental health crisis. While some may be bearable, others may affect you significantly and may lead to a crisis. A few examples of crisis triggers are as follows:

  • A divorce from your spouse or a breakup
  • Traumatic experiences like sexual abuse, physical violence
  • Loss of a family member or a dear friend
  • Having financial difficulties, maybe because of a job loss
  • Pressure at work
  • Underperforming in your exams
  • Loneliness
  • Drug addiction

Change is sometimes difficult to comprehend, especially if you have a mental health problem. So, if you have sudden life changes, seeking professional help would be best.

  • Learn About Things To Do In A Crisis

If you experience a breakdown, you can do the following things to help you feel better:

  • Dial the crisis support line: If the feelings are very overpowering and the people around you aren’t home to help get through it, you can quickly get help from healthcare professionals by dialing or texting a helpline immediately. Start by looking for the National Suicide Prevention Safeline code in your area. These experts operate round the clock to help individuals undergoing mental health emergencies.
  • Go to the emergency room: If there’s a hospital located near you, go to the emergency room immediately and speak to a professional to address your breakdown. Fortunately, a mental crisis can be handled as outpatient care, which means you won’t necessarily be admitted to a hospital for in-patient care.
  • Find trustworthy family members and friends: It isn’t a good idea to self-isolate when experiencing a mental health breakdown. Talk to the family members you trust because they can help you overcome the crisis. They can even know the signs to look out for and inform you if you start having a mental health crisis before you know it.

Knowing what to do when the need arises enables you to get help quickly.

  • Join A Peer-Led Crisis Program

In a peer-led crisis program, you can join people who’ve had similar experiences and speak to them. These individuals can understand where you’re coming from because they’ve probably been in the same situation. Therefore, don’t lock yourself in your room. Approach them whenever you feel like you’re in a crisis. Look for peer-led crisis programs within your community and attend the sessions regularly.

  • Undertake Self-Care Activities

Recovering from mental health problems is something that won’t happen overnight, and you may experience an unplanned crisis at any time. For this reason, it’d be good to learn helpful self-care habits. They can help you care for yourself and boost your physical, emotional, and mental health. The things you can do include the following:

  • Take healthy meals and hydrate: Food can give you the energy you need to go through the day. Thus, eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and proteins, and ensure you drink water.
  • Undertake exercises: You can walk or jog around the neighborhood for a few minutes to help clear your mind when distracted.
  • Get enough sleep: Inadequate sleep can trigger mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Ensure you steer clear of your phone or laptop a few hours before sleep and get adequate sleep.
  • Put up goals: You can make a to-do list with your long-term and short-term goals to remind you why you need to improve. These goals can motivate you whenever you feel down.
  • Keep yourself entertained: You can play cards or chess or fill in puzzles. You could also watch your favorite series or movies.
  • Lock away triggers: To help avoid the escalation of your mental health crisis, you should lock away the thing that could cause harm to you. For instance, you can lock away sharp objects like knives and razors. Store your firearms in hard-to-reach places. And keep away wines and spirits.
  • Meditate: It may be difficult to stay still when you undergo a mental health crisis, but meditation can help you calm down.

Constantly indulging in self-care can help you overcome mental health crises at home without having to go to a treatment facility. If you feel overwhelmed, you can quickly meditate or perform yoga and help refocus your thoughts on helpful things. But if it becomes too much to handle even after undertaking self-care practices, seek help from a professional.


Knowing how to navigate a mental health crisis enables you to get a hold of the situation before it escalates. A crisis could easily lead to suicidal thoughts, but you can prevent this with adequate help and knowledge. Thus, if you start having overwhelming thoughts, find a facility around your area and speak to professional psychotherapists and counselors who have the experience to identify the symptoms and suggest a proper treatment technique. With such help, you don’t have to handle your situation alone.