The phrase “I need to take a mental health day off work” has become popularized, but what if you suspect you are dealing with a situation that takes longer than that? When someone experiences a mental health crisis, they should take it seriously and seek appropriate help. New View Wellness in Atlanta offers evidence-based care on an outpatient basis that helps people manage this situation. What is a mental health crisis? We explore this vital question about how to identify it and seek treatment to help you begin to heal. 

What is a Mental Health Crisis?

Someone can have a difficult time dealing with life or a specific situation, but what is a mental health crisis vs. just a rough patch? A mental health crisis occurs when a person becomes overwhelmed by an event or emotions they cannot control. It can happen as a result of someone experiencing an event that triggers poor mental health. As well, it can also happen to someone who has been dealing with a mental health disorder for a while. 

A mental health crisis is a limited-time event unless the person does not seek help. It can then turn into a more volatile situation and even trigger suicidal thoughts or actions. The event that brings on the crisis can be internal and caused by emotions or mental health symptoms such as panic attacks or hallucinations that a person cannot control. Alternatively, the situation that triggers a mental health crisis may be external and happen gradually or suddenly. What may cause a mental health crisis in one person may not do that for someone else.  

The Different Types of a Mental Health Crisis

It can make answering the question, “What is a mental health crisis?” easier when a person understands different types can happen. They can result from a specific situation or as part of a bigger-picture event. The types of mental health crises include:

Situational Crisis: A specific difficult situation causes this type of crisis. It can include the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, serious injury, or illness. The event that triggers the mental health crisis may come on suddenly or happen out of nowhere. Grief usually plays a big part in a situational crisis because the individual mourns the loss of someone or something. 

Adventitious Crisis: This type of crisis involves an outside force or disaster that cannot be controlled. This includes natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes. It can also be caused by events experienced as part of being in the military, civil unrest in the community, or being a victim of an assault. COVID-19 caused a mental health crisis for many worldwide. 

Maturational Crisis: This happens during a specific age or other transitional period. Examples include when a child begins puberty, starts school at any level, or leaves home. It can also happen to people dealing with a new relationship or getting married. Many middle-aged people develop a maturational crisis because it’s so common at that age to be saddled with caring for aging parents and children simultaneously. 

Sociocultural Crisis: When someone struggles with conforming to the expectations of a family unit or community, they can experience a sociocultural crisis. It can include members of the LGBTQ community and people of different faiths or socio-economic backgrounds than those around them.

What Type of Mental Health Disorders Can Cause a Crisis?

The types of mental illnesses that can temporarily become a crisis include:

Signs & Symptoms of a Mental Health Crisis

Signs and symptoms of someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis may vary per person and condition, but common ones include:

  • Extreme feelings of depression and hopelessness
  • Consistent feelings of anxiety
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Hyperactivity
  • Out-of-control behavior
  • Making threats against others or themselves
  • Feeling or acting suicidal
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope
  • Not taking care of personal hygiene
  • Withdrawing from or refusing to see family and friends
  • Impulsive or dangerous behaviors
  • Dramatic changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Types of Treatment for a Mental Health Crisis

When the answer to, “What is a mental health crisis?” includes a definition that applies to a person or someone they know, the next step is to get treatment. Someone experiencing a mental health crisis may initially need to enter a residential program. This may take place at a psychiatric hospital for a short period of time or at a mental health treatment facility that specializes in long-term care. The latter usually lasts a minimum of 30 days. 

As an alternative to those levels of care, or after completing them, outpatient programs can provide the necessary treatment to keep people out of crisis mode and safe. All levels of treatment for mental health disorders include the use of different kinds of therapies. This includes both individual and group counseling. The goal is to provide the person with focused care that teaches them to understand their illness and the ability they have to improve their mental health. Prescription medications are often used to help people minimize their symptoms and become better able to manage their illnesses and lives.

Find Quality Mental Health Treatment in Atlanta

The answer to, “What is a mental health crisis?” can vary to some degree per person, but when it happens, it proves important to get help. New View Wellness in Atlanta offers highly effective, multi-disciplinary treatment that leads people out of a mental health crisis. We use a combination of different therapies and prescription medications to ease the symptoms of poor mental health. Our compassionate team of medical and therapeutic experts creates a safe haven for people to come together and begin healing. 

If you want to discuss how we can help you or a loved one work on improving their mental health, contact us today. We help adults and teenagers feel better by using proven methods of treatment.