5 Ways to Recognize a Mental Health Crisis

Mental illness is more than just feeling sad or experiencing a rough patch. With a diagnosis and a consistent treatment plan, you CAN get better. If you make the choice to neglect what may be a treatable mental illness, then everyday life can become devastating for you and those who surround you. Getting a comprehensive evaluation is important and can help.   

Furthermore, there may be an undiagnosed medical issue that is causing your symptoms. Once this is discovered or ruled out, then you can construct a plan of action.

If your problems cannot be traced to a physiological cause, look for the following symptoms in yourself to see if you should seek help.

  1. Isolation – If you are keeping yourself away from places, buildings or people, you may begin to feel lonely and hopeless.
  2. Anger – If you feel tension and hostility towards a real or perceived threat to yourself, your possessions, rights or values, then anxiety is most likely to blame.
  3. Personality Changes – Has there been a shift in your way of thinking? Changes are normal as you age but they should be gradual. If you suddenly have an undesired or uncomfortable change in personality, it may be indicative of a serious condition.
  4. Poor Self Care –You certainly cannot control all the circumstances that life throws your way, but despite tough times, you must take care of yourself properly. You must eat, cleanse and get the proper amount of sleep. People in distress often cannot care for themselves. Is this happening to you?                   
  5. Hopelessness – A sense of hopelessness reflects a negative view of the future. You truly believe NOTHING will get better. As mentioned previously, if you seek help, get a working diagnosis, and have a consistent treatment plan, you can get better.

There are also many triggers or life events that may warrant some kind of mental health treatment. When we cannot control our lives, the above symptoms may appear. Some of these triggers include:           

  • Work/Home Stress
  • Changes to Family Structure
  • Death of Friends or Loved Ones
  • Birth of Child
  • Trauma/Violence
  • Poverty/Employment Issues
  • Real and Perceived Discrimination
  • Medication (Missed, Changed Doses or Introduction of New Medication)
  • Substance Use

If you have displayed any of these symptoms and have had trouble dealing with one or more of the triggers, PLEASE SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY, by talking to someone, calling your primary care physician, visiting an emergency room, or contacting our Therapy Referral Service to talk about possible next steps at 410-938-5000.

It’s often hard to assess symptoms in our own lives. If any of your friends or family members are exhibiting these symptoms or these symptoms are disrupting or destroying their lives, talk to them. Show them this blog. Show them you care and help them seek the help they may not realize they need. Help is available!

The image above is an original drawing by Kristi Fleming.

Kristi Fleming is an access coordinator at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Towson, Maryland. She attended Bloomsburg University, Notre Dame of Maryland University and received specific training at University of North Carolina. She is also an artist and lives in Harford County, Maryland. The key to executing her role is identifying a mental health crisis and finding the most appropriate treatment for individuals in one of our programs that range from inpatient care, day services or outpatient care.