Crisis Prevention in the Community
By Kelly Donohue, Ph.D
As a community member, it is sometimes challenging to know what to do when you notice behavior change in a loved on. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness and the receipt of quick care are the best ways to support loved ones who are experiencing behavioral health needs. It is important to be aware of the warning signs for someone who may be experiencing a crisis, as many times individuals do not ask for help for various reasons. This blog post is a means of spreading awareness regarding how to recognize behavioral health need as well as how to respond.
According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center the following are warning signs to look for in family members and friends who may be experiencing a behavioral health crisis:
- Talking about dying
- Recent loss (death, divorce, separation, friends)
- Change in personality
- Change in behavior
- Change in sleep patterns
- Change in eating habits
- Fear of loss of control
- Low Self-Esteem
- No hope for the future
If you recognize any of these symptoms it is important to talk to your loved one, let them know you care, and refer to a behavioral health professional for treatment recommendations. Asking what is wrong is sometimes the best intervention community members can do: it starts a conversation and decreases stigmatization of mental illness. Additionally, encouraging loved ones to seek services, reinforcing that they are cared for, and asking about positive aspects of their life can foster a sense of hope and willingness to seek treatment. While conversing with loved ones you should remain calm, supportive, and clearly express your concern. Provide the individual with reassurance that seeking services may be able to change their outlook.
The information contained in this blog posting is not intended to be used for legal or clinical guidance. The expressions viewed in this post are those of the author and may not represent The Guidance Center.