In A Mental Health Crisis?



What Should I Do In A Mental Health Crisis?

The first principle is to intervene early and establish if professional help is required. If you feel that the person with a mental illness is heading for a crisis or a relapse, it is important to discuss this with the person's treatment provider (eg case manager, therapist or treatment team). The local Community Mental Health Team can be contacted to help you identify early warning signs and assist in the development of a crisis intervention plan. This may help in preventing the crisis or at least minimise the impact on the person and the family.

Who should I call first?

In a crisis, you should seek help, especially if you feel concerned about your safety or the safety of your family member. The service you call first will depend on the type of crisis or emergency situation and when it occurs.

  • If there is an immediate threat to you, your family member or someone else: contact the Police directly (it is appropriate to use the emergency number "000"). The Mental Health Service can attend in these situations, but if there is a high risk of violence they are required to work with the Police.
  • If there is an immediate risk to the physical health of your family member or another person: If emergency medical attention is required contact the ambulance service. This may include situations where the person has caused severe physical harm to themselves (e.g. overdose). It is appropriate to use the emergency  number "000".
  • During regular business hours: Call your local Community Mental Health Centre and ask for the acute care or crisis team. If the person has a case manager / care coordinator they would be the most appropriate person to speak to, if available.
  • After hours and weekends - Community Acute Care Teams: The After Hours Triage Service and Community Acute Care Teams are available to respond to mental health crisis and emergency situations. If you are unsure about whether it is a crisis situation you can call the service to discuss over the phone and they will assist you. This may include talking to your relative over the phone, visiting your relative at home or asking them to come to a Hospital Emergency Department or to a mental health facility for a more thorough assessment of their current situation.

Download Chinese translation for What to do in a Mental Health Crisis