Struggling with mental illness can be a sensitive topic for anyone, especially when you have to reflect on previous mental illness episodes and plan for a future one. However, creating a mental health crisis plan will help you when you’re at your lowest. It’s a clear direction of how to properly take care of you when you cannot take care of yourself. Let’s go over the basics of creating a mental health crisis plan.
What Is a Mental Health Crisis Plan?
A mental health crisis plan is a how-to manual developed by you and loved ones in case your mental illness becomes too much to handle. When you are no longer in the right frame of mind to take proper care of yourself, this plan makes it easy to show loved ones how you need to be taken care of.
It’s crucial to develop this plan when you are in a positive headspace. It can be challenging to reflect on previous breakdowns, so be sure to include your support group in the process, as these are the people who you will rely on to take care of you. Take your time and think, “How do I want to be treated when I’m in a crisis?”
Developing your Personalized Plan
Chances are, if you are reading this, you or a loved one experiences mental illness to a debilitating effect. Whether it’s depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or general anxiety, there is a clear difference between who you are normally and you in a crisis state of mind. It’s essential to recognize the difference. Below are vital subjects to put into your mental health crisis plan:
- What am I like when I am feeling good:
- Describe yourself in a healthy state
- Signs I need help:
- It’s best if you can start with the beginning signs you are struggling and work your way to the more severe symptoms
- People I would like contacted if I am in a crisis:
- Who is your support system? Write down their names, relations to you, and contact information
- People I would not like informed about my current state:
- We all have those people in our lives that we love, but not enough to let into this sensitive time. Anyone you don’t think is going to lift you in this time of need goes here.
- Medications I typically take during a mental health crisis:
- Be sure to include the medication name, dosage, and where you normally store it
- Medications to avoid:
- Some medications can worsen mental illness symptoms, so put those medications here
- Treatment options that helped me:
- List of treatment options that have benefited you in a past crisis. Residential programs, art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, equine therapy, etc.
- Treatment options to avoid:
- Are there treatments that you do not usually get anything out of or are counterproductive to your recovery?
- Local/preferred treatment centers:
- Would you prefer to stay local for treatment or travel to another state? List a few options in case one does not work out.
- Things I need my support team to do for me:
- Remember to detail each person’s role in your crisis plan. For example, if your parents are both on your support team, but you are only comfortable with your mom staying the night, write that down.
- Things I do not want my support team to do:
- If you do not want your support team to clean the house while you are in crisis, say that. People can be well-meaning and, without instruction, try to help in unhelpful ways.
- Things I need to do for myself:
- While in crisis, there may be a few things that you know only you can do. List these activities out, so your support team does not overstep boundaries. This might include changing clothes, showering, etc.
Once you have filled in the mental health crisis questions, it’s time to give it to those on your support team. This exercise can make you feel vulnerable; however, remember that the mental health crisis plan allows you to stay in control of your life.
Get the Help You Need
Many times, facing mental health issues are too much to handle alone. The underlying issues remain, and these are the areas that we help with during treatment. Reach out to Cambridge Behavioral Hospital to learn about available treatment options.