6 Steps to Take When Facing a Mental Health Crisis 

Life can be messy sometimes. One moment, you’re cruising along, handling the daily grind with ease, and the next, you find yourself in the throes of a mental health crisis. It could be a sudden onset of crippling anxiety, a bout of severe depression, or a swirl of emotions that leave you feeling completely lost.

If you’re in the thick of a mental health crisis right now, take a deep breath. You’re not alone, and there are absolutely steps you can take to feel better. Just like we have emergency protocols for physical health crises, it’s crucial to have a game plan for navigating mental health emergencies. This plan should be tailored to your specific needs and resources, but it should also be flexible enough to adapt to different situations.

With that said, keep reading to learn the necessary and important steps to take when faced with a mental health crisis.  

Call for Help

Isolation is the enemy of progress during a mental health crisis. So, don’t attempt to bottle up your emotions. Reach out to someone you trust implicitly, whether it’s a close friend, family member, or a crisis counselor. Better yet, you can consult therapist for professional support and advice. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings can provide an invaluable sense of perspective and remind you that you’re not alone in your mental health problems.

Face Your Emotions

Mental health crises often involve a rollercoaster of emotions. You might feel overwhelmed by sadness, anger, fear, or a combination of all three. Trying to suppress these feelings only makes them stronger. Thus, rather than trying to ignore these feelings, acknowledge them head-on. Explore healthy outlets for expression, whether it’s pouring your heart out in a journal, confiding in a trusted friend, or channeling your emotions into a creative pursuit like art or music.

Don’t be afraid to let yourself feel and embrace these emotions, because as uncomfortable as they may be, it is an important step in the healing process.  

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care might seem like a luxury during a crisis, but it’s actually essential for healing. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, your body and mind are under immense stress. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize basic self-care practices, even when they seem like the last thing you want to do.  


Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and staying hydrated. Take breaks throughout the day for some fun activities, even if it’s just reading a few pages of your favorite book or taking a relaxing bath. These small acts of self-care can provide a much-needed respite from the storm raging within, and help you rebuild your resilience one step at a time.

Find Suitable Coping Strategies

Healthy coping mechanisms are your lifelines during a mental health emergency. Take some time to identify activities that help you calm down and regain a sense of control when the going gets tough. For some, that might mean practicing deep breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation. Others might find solace in listening to calming music, spending time in nature, or losing themselves in a beloved hobby.

The key is to experiment and find what resonates most with you. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box – the goal is to have a variety of coping strategies at your disposal, so you can manage difficult emotions in a healthy, constructive way.

Have a Crisis Safety Plan

If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicidal crisis, having a well-crafted safety plan can be a crisis lifeline. This plan should outline clear, specific steps you can take to keep yourself safe during those moments when you feel utterly overwhelmed and at risk.

Your safety plan might involve removing any potentially harmful objects from your immediate environment, recognizing the warning signs for an upcoming emotional distress, compiling a list of trusted friends or family members you can reach out to for support, or identifying calming activities that can help ground you in the present moment. You can also explore online resources and crisis hotlines that can guide you through creating a personalized safety plan tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.


The key is to have this plan readily available, so you don’t have to scramble or make impulsive decisions when you’re in the throes of a crisis. With a clear, thoughtful safety plan in place, you’ll have a roadmap to follow: one that can potentially save your life when you’re at your most vulnerable.

Always Be Kind to Yourself

Recovering from a mental health crisis takes time and patience. Thus, remember to be kind and compassionate towards yourself during this process. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge the progress you’ve made, no matter how insignificant it may seem. After all, healing is not linear, and setbacks are a natural part of the journey.

The Bottom Line

Facing a mental health crisis can be an incredibly challenging and overwhelming experience. However, by following these steps and having a plan in place, you can navigate through even the darkest moments. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and with the right support system and resources, you can overcome this crisis and turn up stronger on the other side.