How do I know if I (or one of my Soldiers/Family Members) is in a crisis?
Ideally, each of us possess and continue to learn healthy coping skills and resilience strategies to avoid a mental health crisis. There are times when stressors become so great that they overwhelm our ability to manage them. Factors that contribute to this include intense emotions (e.g., anxiety, panic, depression, hopelessness, anger), difficulties with functioning in major areas of life (e.g., home, work), or significant life events (e.g., relationship loss, traumatic event). When someone is in a crisis, they may experience thoughts about harming themselves or others. Therefore, the ability to manage a mental health crisis may potentially be life-saving.
What should I do if someone is in a crisis?
If you, or someone you care about, is in a mental health crisis, get help immediately. The primary resources for an emergency are the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK), calling 911, or going directly to the nearest emergency department. These resources are available 24/7/365 and are staffed by trained and skilled personnel. You do not have to be thinking of suicide to obtain emotional support.
What should I expect if I call a crisis hotline? Mystery Solved!
You may get an automated message asking you to select options. These options can be for language selection, veteran selection, or to route you to a crisis center near where you live. A crisis center closest to your home community will be more familiar with the resources in that area. You may find yourself on hold initially. This usually is less than a minute, but wait times can be longer depending upon the resources at that particular center. HOLD ON! Help is coming!
The crisis worker will come on the line with a greeting but probably won’t ask a lot of questions right away. You can begin the conversation your way. Your crisis worker will actively listen to you, assess risk, and determine if you are in danger. He or she will listen to your emotions, be non-judgmental, and it won’t take too long for you to become comfortable with the person on the other end of your call.
The call can last as long as you need. You can share what you are comfortable sharing and talk about whatever is on your mind. There is no script that crisis workers use, but at some point they may ask some questions in order to better understand what callers are experiencing and so that they can offer the most appropriate resource. If you are calling about someone else and are not sure how to help them, the crisis worker can provide guidance on that.
Will they send the police to my house?
In high risk situations, like callers with suicidal thoughts or actively considering suicide, the goal of the crisis worker is to work with the caller to come up with a safety plan that they both agree on. In many cases crisis workers can help callers feel safe enough that emergency intervention is not needed. If that goal can’t be achieved and the caller still feels unsafe or is thinking about hurting themselves, the crisis worker will try to help the caller in ways that are acceptable to the caller. It might be having a counselor come to the home, calling a friend or family member to come over, or having the crisis worker call back at a later time. A person in crisis can be even further overwhelmed at the thought of having their control taken away, so crisis workers come up with plans that the caller feels good about while keeping that caller safe and alive.
In some cases the crisis worker might need to alert the police in order to keep a person safe, but it’s not as often as you may think. With a good safety plan the caller can maintain autonomy. If the situation does require intervention, the goal is to get the individual to a safe place to receive proper emergency behavioral health treatment, and that means the Emergency Department, and that just may be what that caller needs at that point in time. Following a behavioral health evaluation there will be recommendations for further treatment that can help the individual in crisis obtain relief for the long term.
What should I do after a crisis?
If you, or someone you care about, experienced a mental health crisis, it is important to engage support and interventions early in the process. When working with behavioral health providers, some of the initial work will often include the development of a safety plan. This useful problem-solving approach helps in the development of coping skills for intense stress, developing helpful and healthy support systems, identifying appropriate personnel and systems to contact in an emergency, and normalizing the experience to help remove any guilt, shame, or self-doubt. It is not a failure to experience a crisis. We should, however, take steps to improve our ability to handle a possible future crisis. There are skills and strategies that are effective. With help, people can learn warning signs and triggers for a crisis, daily strategies to maintain a healthy self-identity, and helpful coping strategies when feeling overwhelmed. Contact our staff to discuss your options and find the right treatment for you.
» ADOS-RC Procedures and Requirements (.pdf) «
USAR ACTING DIRECTOR OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH PROGRAM
CPT JOSH TIEGREEN Fort Bragg, N.C.
Stacey Feig, LPC Fort Belvoir, VA (OCAR)
63rd Readiness Division & 9th MSC
Meg Haycraft, LCSW
Amy Lindsey, Nurse Case Manager
Jill Robinson, Nurse Case Manager
81st Readiness Division & 1st MSC
Donna Brunetti, LPC, LPCC, LMHC
Kwajaleyn Myers, Nurse Case Manager
Sharon Harper, Nurse Case Manager
88th Readiness Division
Deb Olson, LCSW
Bruce Kyllonen, Nurse Case Manager
Martha Serbus, Nurse Case Manager
99th Readiness Division
Patricia Moloney, LCSW
Cindy Delphey, Nurse Case Manager
Maria Zelko, Nurse Case Manager
Army Reserve Medical Management Center (ARMMC)
Rhoda Donnelly, LCSW
EMERGENT PROCESS STEPS
Use Local Resources
Communicate with Provider
Ensure Duty Status for Accountability