A Sound Mind: Crisis Response

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 12:12 PM EDT
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Sometimes people hear someone is experiencing a Mental Health Crisis, and draw their own conclusions regarding the situation without knowing the whole story. In our ongoing series, A Sound Mind, Brian Bouchard takes a look at mental health Crisis response.

“Crisis can be anything in a persons’ day that overwhelms their ability to cope”

Sarah Wright, Program Director of Crisis Services for AMHC says there is no one definition of what constitutes a mental health crisis.

“Feeling anxious about what’s going on in your day, it could be feeling sad about something that’s going on in your day, it could be feeling emotionally dysregulated about things that have happened in your past or things that you’re concerned about in your future. Crisis is subjective and it’s dependent upon the person about what is a crisis to them. What is a crisis to me, may not be a crisis to you.”

Wright says misunderstanding and the dismissal of someone in crisis could do more harm than anything.

“Sometimes it’s more than just being sad and you cant pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and there’s no shame or blame in reaching out for help. All of our communities are struggling and certainly COVID did not help that, creating that sense of isolation and separated-ness and to try and get back and function as a community, I think is, one of the key building blocks to creating a more mentally healthy society.”

When someone in crisis calls the 24/7 Maine Crisis Hotline, they are connected to someone who conducts an initial triage of the situation, and contacts a Mobile Crisis Unit if that person needs further resources.

“Our Mobile Crisis, we will engage the client in what we call a biopsychosocial assessment, which is just a really fancy term for asking “How are you doing? Where are you at? What are your coping skills? And what might be some of the historical stuff that comes along with you that might be contributing to your crisis today, or not?”. We work with our clinical consultants on call to identify an appropriate level of care for that person. Not everybody in crisis needs to go to a psychiatric hospital, not everybody in crisis needs to be in a crisis unit. Sometimes people just need to have a conversation with somebody.”

Wright says Crisis response plays a critical role in today’s world of staffing shortages, where waitlists for outpatient therapy can leave some seeking help without options.

“The waitlist to get into therapists, to get into med-management is extremely long in all 3 of our counties and I would even say state wide. So Mobile Crisis can help bridge that gap, we can be that support person to sit with you, to work with you, to make sure that you still remain on those referral lists, to talk with you when days get rough.”

Wright says if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, or need to talk with someone to call either 988 or 888-568-1112

“Please call, please call there are people that care, there are people that want to help, and you have options.”

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8

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