This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week, so today we are going to learn from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about recognizing the signs of a mental health crisis and how to respond. Any child can experience a crisis or even suicidality, but by educating ourselves, we can help keep our children safe! Nami says:
Recognizing that your child is experiencing a mental health crisis can be difficult. You may not be sure what constitutes a crisis situation versus a “bad day” or “phase.” You may feel scared — perhaps you feel unsure of how to protect your child. Combine this with navigating a complicated school and health care system and a lack of resources for people struggling with a mental health crisis, and it’s easy to feel discouraged.
Remember to trust your instincts. You are the expert on your child. Even in this complicated situation, the certainties are that you love them the most, you know them the best and you will do whatever is necessary to keep your child safe.
What Is A Crisis?
A mental health crisis is when your child is at risk of harming themselves or others, or if their emotions and behavior seem extreme and out of control.
Warning signs of mental health crisis may include:
- Expressing suicidal thoughts, either through explicit statements such as “I want to die” or more vague statements such as “I don’t want to be here anymore”
- Making threats to harm others or themselves
- Engaging in self-injurious behavior, such as cutting or burning
- Expressing severe agitation and aggression, including physical aggression, destruction of property, hostility, etc.
- Experiencing hallucinations or delusions
- Isolating themselves from friends and family