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Mental health crisis resources
A mental health crisis is a situation in which a person is attempting to kill themselves or is seriously contemplating or planning to do so. It is considered by public safety authorities, medical practice, and emergency services to be a medical emergency, requiring immediate suicide intervention and emergency medical treatment.
When is someone having a mental health crisis?
When someone does one of the following:
- tells you they plan to end their life
- talks about suicide threats
- cannot guarantee their own safety
- is at risk of suicide and under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- is at risk of suicide and emotionally distraught, very depressed, angry, or anxious
- is at risk of suicide and has access to means for suicide (pills, gun, etc.)
- begins putting affairs in order, like giving away possessions
- talks about the future without them in it, e.g. “I won’t be here by then.”
- has dramatic mood changes, including suddenly seeming to get better for no reason
What to do during a mental health crisis
Contact us or emergency services immediately.
While dealing with a mental health crisis:
- Remain calm but act quickly
- Trust your instincts that the person may be in trouble.
- Listen without judgement.
- DO NOT PROMISE SECRECY - There is no confidentiality in life-threatening situations.
AFTER MAKING CONTACT
Once you have made contact, either escort them to the Counseling Services office during business hours or call the campus police and they will come to you. Never leave an actively suicial person alone. Remain with the person until help arrives.
- Be honest if you plan to call someone for the suicidal person.
- Make the call in their presence if possible.
- Validate someone's feelings and let them know there is help.
- You do not need to have all the answers, you just have to get help for the person.
Tips for dealing with a crisis
By being available, aware, and ready to listen, you can play an important role in helping an individual regain the emotional balance needed to cope and get back on track. You can approach the individual privately and offer to listen. Give the person you undivided attention. Listen and don't judge. Brainstorm possible solutions. Avoid telling the person what to do. Express your concern. Let the person talk. Give hope. Suggest - resources, family, and friends.
Be clear about your boundaries by maintaining respect for the individual and the nature of your relationship. If you are a peer, express your concern as a friend.
Referral to the Counseling department is appropriate when any of the following is happening:
- The problem is more serious than you feel comfortable handling
- You are very busy, stressed, or unable to effectively listen
- You have helped as much as you can and further assistance is needed
- You think your own feelings will interfere with your objectivity
- He or she admits there is a problem, but doesn't want to talk to you about it
- He or she asks for more information or help than you can provide
Your role doesn't end when the immediate crisis is over. After a person has revealed his or her suicidal thoughts to you, you can still be helpful by:
- Maintaining confidentiality – only share personal information with those who need to know in order to keep supporting and protecting the person
- Checking in with the person when you see him or her again - don't avoid the person
Consulting with Counseling Services at (573) 341-4211 or other community resources if you still have concerns about the person
Make time to engage in self-care like listening to music, connecting with friends/family, enjoying a hobby, or taking a walk. Most people can benefit from counseling and do not have to be in crisis to seek assistance. If you would like support from a mental health professional, call or visit the Counseling department today.