What is a Mental Health Crisis?

The NHS Choices website1 describes a mental health crisis as when an individual no longer feels able to cope and/or is no longer in control of their situation.

Mind2 describes a mental health crisis as an acute, time-limited episode experience of overwhelming emotional reactions to an event. Sufferers feel their mental health is at ‘breaking point’. 

Am I Having a Mental Health Crisis?

You may be feeling immense emotional distress or anxiety and feel that you can no longer cope with day-to-day life, whether you are in education, at the workplace, at home, etc. As your crisis progresses, or if it has progressed, you may have developed thoughts about suicide and you may deliberately harm themselves and potentially seek to harm others. You may experience hallucinations such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren't there, smelling scents that aren't present and/or feeling like things are crawling on your skin. This is psychosis and medical assistance should be sought immediately via going to A&E.

A mental health crisis may not be related to a specific mental disorder, it may come about as the result of an underlying medical condition such as an infection, an overdose of illicit drugs or intoxication with alcohol. A healthcare professional will rule any underlying medical conditions out.

Crises can be experienced by people of all ages, sexes, cultures and socioeconomic
circumstances and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Having a mental health crisis does not make you weak and help should not be avoided because of such a thought.

What is a crisis for one individual may not be so for another individual. What you may be experiencing as a crisis now may not have been a crisis for you before or would not be a crisis in a different setting. All you need to know is that help is available. Crises have been described as a system out of balance and they occur when balance cannot be regained, even though you may be trying very hard to correct the imbalance. This is ok and it is not your fault so please don't ever think it is.

What Should I Do Now?

Please go to this page on mental health crises. Look for your local region, click on the link and there you will find local services that can help you. You can make it through this.


1. nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/mental-health-services-explained/Pages/mental-health-emergencies.aspx

2. mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/#.WBN5reTrvx8