How to Respond to a Mental Health Crisis

(gentle music) – My name is John Bjornberg. I’m program leader at the
Behavioral Health Center for the Eastern Idaho
Regional Medical Center. Today, I’m gonna talk to you about the development of crisis, the stages of crisis, and how you would respond to crisis. The first stage of crisis is anxiety. Anxiety is defined by a noticeable change or difference in a person’s behavior. Anxiety can be recognized by a person’s body language or their facial expressions, but with body language, it could be the tapping of the feet, the wringing of the hands. With body language, it could
be lacking eye contact. It can also be recognized by the individual separating themselves from the rest of the group
or becoming isolative. Ways that you can respond to a person that’s in the anxiety stage of crisis is first, by being aware and getting to know the patient and
noticing the crisis. Secondly, you can let the person know that you care and are willing to listen. Thirdly, you can help them find and develop different coping skills to deal with this anxiety. When an individual is
looking for coping skills, they can be very simple things. They can as simple as
listening to music, meditation, allowing yourself to talk to somebody, and also, something so simple as coloring a page or drawing a picture. If an individual is unable
to resolve their anxiety, they can move into a
second stage of crisis, which would be to the defensive stage. This stage is characterized
by two different aspects. An individual begins to
lose rational thought and can become belligerent,
challenging one’s authority. When an individual is
in the defensive stage, you need to allow them time to vent, get out some of their frustrations. Also, during this time of venting, you need to remove the audience and make sure that they’re able to vent without adding more fuel to the fire. Also, what we can do is set
limits with the individual, giving them choices on how they can work with their behaviors, what they can do to either calm down or understand what the consequences
would be if they do not. If you are unable to help this individual to calm in this defensive stage, they may advance to the third stage, or the acting-out stage. This stage is where they’ve a
total loss of rational control and have become physically violent, either to property or persons. Please do not physically intervene. This puts you and the person who’s acting out in physical harm. Please call the emergency services or 911. After an individual has gone
through the acting-out stage, they reach a stage
called tension reduction. In this stage, they begin
to regain rational control and are able to talk and discuss things with the people they had problems with. This is also a time as you being a helper
can help this individual by teaching different coping skills and helping them learn ways to control their behaviors in the future. A crisis situation can
occur in any location. It can occur at the workplace, it can occur at school, it can occur at home, even some place as obscure
as the supermarket. For 24-hour support, please
contact the number listed below.

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