Experiencing a mental health/ emotional crisis means feeling unable to cope with overwhelming or upsetting thoughts and feelings. Crisis is different for everyone. There may be different triggers and different ways in which people experience crisis- there is no right or wrong way to think or feel when in crisis.Not everyone who engages in self-harm behaviour is in crisis and not everyone who engages in self-harm is suicidal. Not everyone who experiences suicidal thoughts or urges engages in self-harm and they may not appear to be in crisis.
Situations that might trigger or contribute towards experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis for children and young people:
Self-harm involves the act of doing something to cause harm or omitting to do something which in turn may cause harm (such as not taking prescribed medications).
There are many forms of self-harm.
There are many reasons why a young person may engage in self-harm and each individual episode of self-harm may have a different trigger or reason. The most important thing to know about self-harm is that it is purposeful and meaningful; it serves a need or function.
Self-harm can be a very secretive behaviour as if often associated with feelings such as guilt and shame which can make it hard for someone to share how they are feeling and what they are doing. Here are some signs to look out for;
Suicide is the act of intentionally and purposefully ending one’s life.
A lot of young people may experience thoughts about wanting to harm themselves or end their life, particularly when in crisis or they experience a distressing life event.
It can be difficult to notice if a young person is experiencing thoughts and urges or even making plans to end their life, particularly as suicidal thoughts and urges can occur suddenly, unexpectedly and impulsively, especially among adolescents.
Some signs include but are not limited to;
Steps to take if a young person is in crisis or makes a disclosure of self-harm or suicidal intent:
Making a crisis and coping plan with a young person:
Every young person could benefit from having their own person crisis and coping plan, whether they are known to experience episodes of crisis or not. A crisis and coping plan can be completed by anyone but should always be done with a young person.
A crisis and coping plan should consider the following;
For a copy of a coping and crisis plan you can use with a young person click on the download below.
To watch a video of someone completing this coping and crisis plan with a young person click here: https://youtu.be/Ls8i391_aCc
Hampshire CAMHS website; Help I’m in Crisis (click here)
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
This service provides free, 24hours a day, 7 days a week crisis support across the UK. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need support, you can text YM to 85258.
They will listen to you and help you think through how you’re feeling, and will aim to help you take the next steps towards feeling better.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
NHS 111 Service;
Call 111 to access specialist mental health support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
This service helps people of all ages to get the mental health support they
need at the right time.
This service also provides advice for frontline police, GPs and other health professionals