Mental health crisis

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Health Assured team

24 February 2020

Managing a crisis can be a delicate and complicated affair.

When it occurs in the working environment, offering the right support can go a long way to the employee’s speedy recovery.

If you’re currently finding it challenging to manage mental health in the workplace, you can contact the Health Assured team for assistance. Call us on 0844 892 2493.

Or, you can use this piece as a guide for supporting your employees experiencing a mental health crisis.

What is a mental health crisis?

It occurs when someone’s mental health is at a breaking point and normally includes the feeling of increased stress and anxiety. This means sufferers aren’t in a position to cope with their situation or control their feelings about it.

In a work setting, for example, an employee may feel they’re unable to manage the pressures of an increased workload and start to develop stress and anxiety every time they think about it. When they ignore this feeling, it starts to develop into other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

When these feelings are left to fester and start to affect their daily life, they can get to a breaking point where they feel that they aren’t able to control their feelings anymore. This can then result in a mental health crisis.

But what is considered a mental health crisis? It may be in the form of an outburst or other actions that weren’t properly thought out.

While a mental health crisis can mean different things for different people, it generally includes:

  • Suicidal or self-harm thoughts.
  • Episodes of psychosis (hallucinations, hearing voices, paranoia, etc).
  • Unpredictable and irrational behaviour and actions.

What is crisis intervention in mental health?

Crisis intervention is the action you take to support and improve an individual’s mental disorder.

Just like the intervention received after a physical injury, crisis intervention for mental health issues should be immediate and set up reasonable expectations of a positive outcome.

It’s important to know how to help someone having a mental health crisis. As well as supporting the sufferer’s mental wellbeing, you’re also protecting those around them.

A mental health crisis suggests the individual is no longer able to control their situation and because of their unpredictability, they may put other staff members at risk.

How to help someone with a mental health crisis

There are a variety of approaches you can take when an employee’s experiencing a mental health crisis.

Most importantly, if you suspect a member of staff of having suicidal thoughts you must encourage them to get help. If you need to, contact their GP, the Samaritans or other mental health services.

In certain instances, they may refer the employee for a mental health crisis assessment. During this evaluation, the professional will offer a clear explanation of what’s happening and how they can help. They’ll ask questions about their life experiences and previous or ongoing mental health issues.

You should consider formulating a mental health crisis plan for non-life-threatening situations. It’ll include your organisation’s approach to supporting employees during a crisis.

You can also make considerations for mental health first aid training. With it, employees are able to identify the early stages of a mental health problem and offer the appropriate support.

They can also help stop someone from self-harming and guide them towards the proper professional help. As well as helping sufferers have a quicker recovery, this course also plays a part in raising awareness for mental health and breaking the stigma around it.

The plan should also include an employee assistance programme. It aims to help employees deal with problems that might affect their general wellbeing as well as their work performance.

Most programmes will come with a mental health crisis counsellor, critical incident advice, telephone support and informational resources such as posters and leaflets.

In situations that aren’t life-threatening, consider the following approaches:

  • Judgement-free listening
  • Avoid confronting them
  • Encourage them to speak to an appropriate professional
  • Consult with them about the type of support they require
  • Offer informational resources on how to get through a mental health crisis

Expert support

Contact the Health Assured team today for more information on the services and support. Call us now on 0844 892 2493.

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