Crisis or Emergency?


Hopefully, you are in therapy and you have created a crisis plan to help you through a time such as this. Creating a crisis plan with your therapist will give you tools you need to manage the crisis so it will not become an emergency. Maybe you’re considering how therapy might help you figure out better what to do when your emotions get out of control.

 But if you’re not prepared, or nothing seems to be helping…how will you know when your crisis turns into an emergency? 


*You might have thoughts like, “I don’t want to live”, or “They would be better off without me” 

*You might think of a plan to end your life

*You might feel so angry that you are thinking about ending someone else’s life

*You are out of control and a danger to yourself or others.

 If you are thinking that the only way out of your current emotional state is violence against yourself or someone else, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.

 You have some choices, so use your best judgement to decide what might help you get through a tough moment. You might…

 · Call a crisis helpline like National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or a local crisis helpline like The Listening Ear at 517-337-1717

 · If you don’t want anyone to hear you on the phone, you can text a national crisis line for help by texting HOME to 741741

 · Decide to drive to Community Mental Health for an evaluation if you have Medicaid or if you are not insured. This is located at 812 E Jolly Rd, Lansing, MI 48910. You might call ahead to let them know you are on the way by dialing 517-346-8200. 

· You might decide to drive to the ER for an evaluation and referral to inpatient hospitalization where you can be safe. You might try St Lawrence Emergency Room 517-364-7000 1210 W. Saginaw 

This is what you should do if none of these options are the right fit, and you need to call 911. 

Tell them:                                 

  • Your name, address, and phone number
  •  The name of the person in crisis and your relationship with them
  •  A description of the individual in crisis (ex. their age, gender, clothing)
  •  If the person has had a mental health condition and if they are receiving treatment for it
  •  If the person has a physical health condition and if they are receiving treatment for it
  • Any medication being used — if use has stopped and for how long
  • Any alcohol or substances being used— either at the current time or in the past (any addiction/dependency) 
  • Any history of interactions with the police — especially if calling 911
  •  If you feel threatened
  • If the person in crisis hears voices
  •  If the person has a history of suicide attempts or self injury
  •  If there are any weapons in the house (If there are any weapons, try to safely remove them before calling)
  • What the person is currently doing and saying and where they are in the house or on the property
  • Request a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officer who has experience in working with people who have a mental illness if the police are dispatched to the home.

 While waiting for help to arrive, stay calm and try to keep the environment as calm as possible. Let the person know you are getting help and everyone will be kept safe. If you plan to stay with the person in crisis as they receive help, let them know. Ask the person who is experiencing the crisis what they need right now to help them. Ask if they have any tools they've used in the past that have helped. Ask if the person has a Crisis Plan and read it, if available, while waiting for help to arrive (NAMI publication). 

It is always better to err on the side of getting too much support, so I hope this helps you feel confident in your choices should a crisis turn into an emergency.

 When your symptoms get back to a more manageable level, and you would like to learn some new skills for coping, create a crisis plan should this ever happen again, or simply get some support while things are difficult, call for an appointment!