When Mental Health is an Emergency
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 911 or get help immediately. You can also use the NHS 111 online service to talk to a mental health nurse or mental health doctor.
A mental health emergency is a serious situation where you are in danger of harming yourself or others. It may be classified as a major emergency or minor, depending on whether there is a risk of severe incapacitation.
1. Suicide or self-harm
When mental health is an emergency, it’s important to know that there are professionals who can help you get the care and support you need. If you’re having a crisis or feel like you might need help, you can talk to a family doctor, a mental health professional or call an emergency number.
Self-harm is a coping strategy that people use to manage their feelings of stress, pain or other emotions. It doesn’t mean that you are planning to commit suicide, but it can be a serious problem that needs proper care and assessment.
If you are self-harming, a healthcare professional will talk to you about why you are doing it and how it affects your life. They may also recommend treatments like counselling and anti-depressants.
A study in Scotland looked at the epidemiology of mental health emergencies, including self-harm, using ambulance records. They found that people attended to an emergency department for a mental health emergency were more likely to make repeat calls within 12 months than others.
2. Anxiety or depression
When you have anxiety or depression, it can be an emergency situation because it can cause symptoms such as a panic attack or a feeling of hopelessness. It can also cause you to lose interest in things you once enjoyed.
You may feel drained and tired and it can be hard to sleep. You might also have trouble concentrating, eating and making plans for the future.
A doctor might recommend blood, urine or other lab tests to check for underlying medical conditions. They can also prescribe medicines like antidepressants to treat your depression and anxiety.
You might have a mental health condition like generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. These can cause a lot of worry about many different things, such as heights, animals, water or blood injection injury.
3. Drug or alcohol abuse
When you have a mental health problem, it is important to know that alcohol or drugs may make symptoms worse. They can also make your medications less effective and increase your risk of relapse.
Drug abuse refers to the excessive use of any substance that tends to activate the brain reward system, which reinforces behaviors and the production of memories. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition includes 10 separate classes of drugs of abuse including alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics, stimulants, and tobacco.
Young people are particularly prone to drug abuse, especially those who have poor social relationships or who face difficult family situations. There are significant consequences for the individual and their family, as well as for the community and society.
It is important to learn how to cope with stress without turning to drugs or alcohol. This helps keep your symptoms at bay and prevents relapse. It can also help you develop new coping skills and interests that will help you feel happier.
4. Abuse or neglect
Whether a child is physically or emotionally abused, it’s important that the situation be reported immediately. Abuse can cause lasting harm to a child’s physical, emotional, and social development.
It can also lead to severe psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, or bipolar disorder. In addition, it can make an individual more likely to act in impulsive, dangerous ways.
Neglect is the failure of a parent or caretaker to provide a child with proper food, shelter, clothing, medical care, supervision, and education. It can be the result of one unattended incident, or a pattern of ongoing mistreatment.
Children living in poverty, parents who use drugs and alcohol, and children who witness domestic violence are all more likely to be abused or neglected. These children may be more hesitant to report abuse. They may feel that others won’t believe them or will be angry with them. They may also be afraid that the situation will split the family apart.