Mental health is a highly discussed issue in the world today. You can see references to it in books, movies and shows. We have started having conversations regarding the importance of maintaining a good mental health. Sometimes still it is a concern which gets neglected.
We deal with a lot of problems on a daily basis. Sometimes, situations can occur, where the mental health of a person might get affected in a highly negative way. You maybe too tired to get up from the bed, face rapid mood swings or even get suicidal thoughts. This is when you need to be cautious of a mental health crisis.
2. What is Mental Health?
Before we get into that, let us discuss what we mean by the term mental health. A good mental health refers to a calm state of mind. It is when you are able to deal with situations with a fair mind. It includes psychological, social and emotional well being.
It is extremely important to focus on your mental health for a quality life.
3. What do you mean by a Mental Health Crisis?
A mental health crisis occurs when the behaviour of a person puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others and/or prevents them from being able to care for themselves or function effectively in the community” as defined by nami.org
This means that a person who is in a mental health crisis will find it difficult to function effectively. It is possible that they might also put themselves in a life-threatening situation. It is necessary to know about the mental illness, problems etc. that can lead to a mental health crisis in order to avert it. So let us now discuss that.
4. Why Does a Mental Health Crisis Occur?
A mental health crisis can generally occur due to stress. This stress can be in various fields of life. It could be due to situations in personal life, professional life, or the world in general.
4.1 Stress in Personal Life
Various issues can lead to a bad impact on a person’s mental health. This could be family problems such as financial issues or a bad home environment. If a child is exposed to regular fights at home between the elders, it could have a severe impact on their mental health.
Personal issues could also include losing someone you care about and love. People have different ways of dealing with their grief. If one is unable to do that, it can lead to a mental health crisis.
4.2 Stress in Professional Life
A mental health crisis can also occur if someone is facing problems on the work front. This could include things like feeling stagnated in a job or a lack of opportunities. The workplace environment and their measures for inculcating diversity and equality can also affect a person’s mental health.
Students can also be affected by things happening in their school. Failing grades can sometimes feel like the end of the world. Facing bullying or inequality in school life can also have long term mental consequences.
If a person feels uncomfortable in voicing their opinions, it might negatively affect them.
4.3 Stress Due to External Factors
The situation in the world could lead to various mental health crises. The most recent example of that is the Covid-19 pandemic. It brought us into a situation that had a severe impact on the minds of the world population.
Social media is also one such external factor that has an impact on someone’s mental health. It has fostered an environment of comparison. You feel bad when you can’t compare to the perfect bodies and lives of people on the internet.
In these situations, there is generally a feeling of helplessness associated. This is because you can do very little to control such external factors.
Thus we can say that there can be various triggers to a mental health crisis. Humans are very susceptible to change. It is to be understood that we live in a world that is constantly changing. These changes impact our mental health to a more deeper extent than we realize.
But it is natural to feel uncomfortable or sad over things. We cannot call everything a crisis. So, the question here is when can you say that you are facing a mental health crisis or a mental health emergency?
5. Signs that You Are in A Mental Health Crisis
5.1 Inability to Do Everyday Tasks
A mental health crisis is characterized by the inability to perform mundane, daily tasks. This could include things ranging from brushing teeth to finding it difficult to even get up from the bed.
A person loses the motivation to do anything. Everything seems to be a task. This could be a sign that your mind is tired. Everything just seems useless. Ignoring such things in your daily life can prove to be extremely detrimental in the future.
5.2 Isolating Yourself from Others
While in a mental health emergency, a person can also feel withdrawn from other people. You would start canceling plans and avoiding people. This is a form of self-sabotage that people facing mental health issues do.
Not talking to people and icing them out, reinforces the idea that you are alone in this world with no one to rely upon.
5.3 Mood Swings
Someone going through a mental health crisis can also face rapid mood swings. There could be situations when you are happy and the world seems good. These feelings can be followed by moods of extreme darkness where a person can even think about self-harm.
You can see dramatic shifts and clear and abrupt changes in the moods of people going through such a situation. This can also signify that they are sometimes trying to portray emotions that they are not feeling. You must try and empathize with someone in this position and try not to take it personally.
5.4 Feeling Paranoid
There is also a possibility that a person in a mental health crisis can feel somewhat paranoid. They can see hallucinations and assume things in a way they are not.
You sometimes feel like people are plotting against you. Most things are viewed in a negative light. This too can have severe impacts on a person.
Having a bad mental health condition or being in a mental health emergency can have various negative consequences. It can cause and be caused by various mental health disorders. This can include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc.
It can induce people to do self-harm. Suicide attempts are also a common result of being in a mental health crisis and so is substance abuse. Getting diagnosed with mental health conditions as stated above can also increase the feeling of isolation. This can lead to impulsive or reckless behavior.
7. What is the Solution?
It is important to understand how we can help ourselves or a person suffering from a mental health crisis. For doing this, the most important thing is acknowledging that an issue exists. We need to be aware of the common signs of a mental health crisis to avert it. The following can be some ways to sort the issue further
7.1 Seek Professional Help
Now that you are aware that a problem exists it is essential to seek help. Various mental health professionals are trained with such issues. Their input and advice can help to a great extent.
Therapy is a great way to get out of a crisis. Through it, you can get an outsider’s perspective on the issue you are facing. It is important to normalize this concept so that people can be more comfortable in asking for help.
It is also necessary to go to psychologists or doctors who can provide medical help. This will relieve and help if someone is facing a mental health disorder.
7.2 Measures for Improving Mental Health
A person can also go to various support groups for help. Such groups have people going through similar issues and they can share their stories.
Working on your physical help can also help. A healthy body is the catalyst for a healthy mind. Awareness and care for your body would also lead to aversion towards substance use.
Things like journalling and making an attempt to get out of the house at least once in a while helps. Invest time on your hobbies.
It is highly important to get to the depth of the issue to solve it. Talking or writing about what it is that is bothering you is important.
7.3 Take it One Step at a Time
It is important to not feel guilty just because you are facing a mental health issue. Don’t over-exert yourself and don’t pretend you are fine when you are not. It will only lead to more mental exhaustion.
Take things step by step. Try to complete daily tasks and understand that moving slowly is completely acceptable. Changing your look a bit can also help sometimes.
7.4 Training for Crisis Intervention
It is important that the family members of a person going through a mental health crisis, have crisis intervention training.
This means that if a person practices self-harm, in the form of suicide attempts or if they have a mental breakdown, someone in the family knows what to do.
It is important to get medical help so that immediate danger can be averted. They should know the medical history of the person. It is also essential to stay calm and have a safety plan.
7.5 Being Aware
You need to know where the local mental health center is and be aware of the national suicide prevention lifeline. Try to understand the situation of the person facing a mental health crisis. Read about the symptoms and treatments of various mental health disorders and illnesses.
It is essential that you make the person feel heard. You need to ensure that they can rely on you and talk to you about their problems.
Just like any other crisis, a mental health crisis can come without a warning and be extremely harmful. You can look at the statistics to see how many people die from suicides around the world each year. This does not even cover the number of unsuccessful suicide attempts.
It is a highly competitive world. Each day we strive toward perfection. The image of a perfect life is tough to achieve. In fact it is impossible. We still work towards that and small impediments in our road can sometimes highly set us back.
It is thus important that we strive towards building a world that is more accepting of flaws. A world that recognizes the need to be empathetic. Some places where people don’t have to be scared to talk about their issues.
The way forward is to take responsibility. Understand your needs and the needs of others. Look at the warning signs of a mental health crisis. Be there for each other. It is our world and only we can make it a better place to live in.