Mental Health Crisis

According to DHS 34.02(5), an existential mental health crisis “means a situation caused by an individual’s apparent mental disorder which results in a high level of stress or anxiety for the individual, persons providing care for the individual or the public which cannot be resolved by the available coping methods of the individual or by the efforts of those providing ordinary care or support for the individual”.  Many factors can lead to an existential mental health crisis. Some examples of situations that can lead or contribute to a crisis include:

Home or Environmental Stressors

  • Changes in relationship with others (boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, spouse)
  • Losses of any kind due to death, estrangement or relocation
  • Conflicts or arguments with loved ones or friends
  • Trauma or exposure to violence

School or Work Stressors

  • Worrying about upcoming projects or tasks
  • Feeling singled out by co-workers/peers; feeling lonely
  • Lack of understanding from peers, co-workers, teachers or supervisors
  • Real or perceived discrimination
  • Failing grades, losing a job

Other Stressors

  • Being in crowds or large groups of people
  • Experiencing community violence, trauma, natural disasters, terrorism
  • Public health emergencies, such as COVID-19
  • Pending court dates
  • Using or abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Starting new medication or new dosage of current medication
  • Treatment stops working
  • Stopping medication or missing doses
  • Abusive behavior to self and others, including substance use or self-harm (cutting)
  • Isolation from school, work, family, friends
  • Loses touch with reality (psychosis) – unable to recognize family or friends, confused, strange ideas, thinks they’re someone they’re not, doesn’t understand what people are saying, hears voices, sees things that are not present
  • Paranoia