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Extending a Helping Hand: How to Support Someone in Mental Health Crisis

This is a topic I get asked about all the time and if you're not a professional I will always encourage calling 988 and get someone to guide you.

In moments of crisis, our support can make all the difference in someone's life. When it comes to mental health, offering a helping hand to someone in crisis can provide comfort, reassurance, and the essential reminder that they are not alone. In this blog post, we'll explore effective ways to help someone in a mental health crisis, emphasizing empathy, understanding, and compassion.

Understanding Mental Health Crisis:

A mental health crisis can manifest in various ways, including extreme emotional distress, thoughts of self-harm, or suicidal ideation. It's crucial to recognize that such moments are signs of deep pain and vulnerability. Your willingness to step in can be a lifeline for someone who might be struggling to stay afloat.

 

Listening with Empathy:

1. Create a Safe Space: Find a quiet and private place to talk where the person feels comfortable sharing their feelings.

2. Active Listening: Pay close attention, show you care, and let them express their emotions without interruption.

3. Validation: Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them.

Offering Support:

1. Stay Calm: Your presence can be reassuring. Stay calm and composed, even if the situation is intense.

2. Be Non-Judgmental: Avoid passing judgment or trying to fix the problem. Instead, focus on providing emotional support.

3. Avoid Trivializing: Refrain from saying things like "It'll get better" or "Just cheer up." These phrases might unintentionally dismiss their feelings.

Asking Directly:

1. Ask About Their Safety: If you're concerned about their immediate safety, ask if they're thinking about hurting themselves. This question shows that you care.

2. Encourage Professional Help: Suggest speaking with a mental health professional or a counselor. Offer to help them find resources if needed.

Practical Steps:

1. Stay Connected: Offer to stay with them or check in on them regularly.

2. Help with Contacting Support: If they're open to it, assist them in reaching out to a mental health professional, helpline, or a trusted friend or family member.


Encourage Self-Care:

1. Small Steps: Suggest simple self-care activities like taking a walk, practicing deep breathing, or engaging in a favorite hobby.

2. Reinforce Positive Habits: Remind them to take prescribed medications and maintain a regular routine.

Knowing When to Seek Help:

1. Call for Help: If the person is at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, call emergency services.

2. Involve Professionals: If the crisis continues or worsens, encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional.

 

Helping someone in a mental health crisis requires compassion, patience, and a willingness to listen. By offering your support, you can be a beacon of hope during their darkest moments. Remember, you don't need to have all the answers, but your presence and care can make a profound impact on their journey toward healing.

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