Mental Health Crisis And Intervention Plan

Everyone goes through personal problems. Crises are intense, time-limited occurrences characterized by excessive emotional reactions to an event’s perception. People of diverse ages, nationalities and socioeconomic backgrounds have crises, which may or may not be tied to a specific mental ailment.

A crisis is described as an unstable situation with an unpredictable result that briefly overwhelms an individual’s coping capabilities. Such crises might be caused by external events, internal processes, or a mix of the two. One person’s crisis may not be a crisis for another. What is now a crisis may not have been a crisis previously or would not be a crisis in a different context.

Being prepared for a mental health crisis can make all the difference when faced with a crisis. This article describes what mental health crisis and intervention plan resources are available, how they may assist, and when you should use them. It also explains how to prepare for a crisis. See our blog on where to get mental health help if you’re in a crisis right now.

Mental Health Crisis and Intervention Plan

What is a mental health crisis? What is mental health intervention plan?

A mental health crisis plan is an action plan developed in advance of a crisis arises so that you and those in your support system know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Anybody may create a crisis plan by compiling a list of resources, information, and directives. It may significantly impact decision-making, and rational thinking might go out the window when you’re stressed.

A crisis plan’s purpose is to prepare for a mental health emergency.

You may construct your mental health crisis plan on your own. Still, you can also seek assistance from a mental health professional or any loved ones involved in your care.

Your crisis plan might be personal or shared with your treatment team and loved ones. Additional legal documents may be required in the event of a severe ailment.

Intervention process for mental health crisis

Mental health crisis intervention refers to strategies that provide urgent, short-term assistance to people experiencing emotional, mental, physical, or behavioral discomfort or issues resulting from an occurrence. Mental health crises are often transitory, brief, and last around a month. The duration of crisis intervention can range from one session to an average of four weeks, sessions vary in length from 20 mins to more than two hours. Crisis intervention is acceptable for people of all ages and can occur in various situations.

The objectives of mental health crisis management are as follows:

  • Ensure the individual undergoing a mental health crisis’s physical and emotional well-being.
  • Reduce the severity of the person’s emotional, mental, physical, and behavioural reactions to the crisis to avoid future worsening of the person’s mental condition and the development of major long-term difficulties.
  • Assist in crisis recovery and return to pre-crisis levels of functioning.
  • Contribute to developing or improving more effective coping skills and a support system.
  • Ensure that services are clinically appropriate and provided in the least intensive or restrictive environment possible.
  • Give help and make referrals for continued care.

How can I plan for a possible mental health crisis?

You may dislike the concept of preparing for something you hope will never happen. However, it may be beneficial to consider what you may do if you find yourself in a crisis in the future and what type of assistance you might require.

What do you want for your treatment if you become unable to make these decisions yourself? In some situations, a mental health crisis may render you unable to make treatment decisions (in legal terms, this is called losing capacity). 

If you are concerned about losing capacity, you may consider making an advance statement. It is a written declaration of what you want to happen if you lose capability, such as:

  • Which therapy would you choose
  • In the event of a crisis, who do you want to be contacted?
  • Any spiritual or religious beliefs, and your food choices

This blog post has some ideas for you to consider. These suggestions may be valuable to some people, but keep in mind that various things work for different people at different times.

Types of Mental Health Crisis and Intervention plan:

1.  Joint crisis plan

A JCP is a “psychiatric advance statement that specifies how to spot early indicators of crisis and handle crises.”

The three most critical components of a joint crisis plan are:

· Crisis triggers – what might lead to a crisis?

· During a mental health crisis, your symptoms and actions are crisis manifestations.

· approaches to dealing with the situation

2.  Psychiatric Advance directives (PAD)

PADs are legal documents that authorize another person to act on your behalf. When you’re not in crisis, you’ll usually create a PAD outlining what you want for your treatment if you are in dilemma to make these decisions for yourself.

If you have a serious mental health illness or symptoms (such as psychosis), you should consider creating a PAD.

3.  Wellness recovery action plan 

This plan assists you and your support team in developing a strategy for your general mental health care — both in and out of crisis — as well as how to avoid future catastrophes.

This strategy might include:

  • A collection of health and wellness tools
  • A daily schedule
  • Your pressures may be early warning signals of a crisis, or your symptoms may exacerbate a crisis plan.
  • A post-crisis strategy

What should be included in your mental health crisis plan?

You may wish to consider previous emergencies while creating a crisis plan. What transpired? What type of help do you wish you had? What do you wish you had known back then?

Your crisis plan, as well as who you share it with, will be tailored to you and your situation.

We divided your crisis plan into two parts to produce it: During a crisis, medical information, and the actual plan.

1. Medical knowledge

While you may not want this knowledge in an emergency, having it on hand may be helpful to everyone. (such as an ER doctor).

Consider the following outline:

1. Basic medical information 

– Emergency contact information

– Names of your primary care physician and mental health professionals such as a therapist and psychiatrist

– Anything else that may be useful, such as insurance information

2. Medical history

  • Any allergies or adverse drug responses in your medical history
  • Any history of severe mental medication adverse effects
  • Previous medical problems, diseases, or operations
  • Psychiatric hospitalizations in the past

3. Current medical knowledge

  • Current diagnosis
  • Current medications, including the date, ordered, your prescribing physician, and the amount
  • Anything else you’re taking to avoid interactions (supplements or recreational drugs)

2. Crisis Plan

Consider adding the following to your crisis plan:

  • Resources for emergencies (hotline numbers, your local mental health department or psychiatric care centre, etc.)
  • Measures to take if you need to seek expert assistance
  • Actions that indicate you’ll be admitted to the hospital
  • Activities that indicate you’ll dial 911

You do not have to create your crisis strategy on your own. A mental health expert/professional may be able to help you locate the best emergency resource numbers and determine which behaviors to include on your list. Make a few copies of your plan (and share them with your support team!) and keep the medical information up to current if your medications change.

In their resource guide, Navigating a Mental Health Crisis and intervention plan, the National Alliance on Mental Illness gives helpful printables to incorporate into a mental health crisis plan.

Signs of a mental health crisis

While your crises and symptoms may differ, the following are some frequent behaviors and symptoms that may suggest a crisis:

  • Quick, abrupt, and strong mood swings, an inability to do most daily chores
  • Hallucinations or delusions are symptoms of psychosis.
  • A rise in agitation, wrath, or aggression is a sign of paranoia.
  • Increased use of alcoholic beverages or medicines
  • Suicidal ideation, which includes suicidal ideas or sentiments
  • Indications of self-injury

While having a local resource for your crisis plan is beneficial, there are also various national options for assistance:

If you are not in the US, Befrienders Worldwide or Suicide Stop: International Help Center can help you discover a crisis hotline.

What is the purpose of having a crisis plan?

Crisis plans exist as a preventative measure – it’s far simpler to have knowledge and directives written down ahead of time rather than responding in the heat of the moment.

I think of it like any other form of disaster preparation strategy. People carry emergency supplies for earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes, so they don’t have to run about and respond quickly and safely.

Your mental health emergency is entitled to the same level of preparation. You are entitled to safety and peace of mind.

Crisis preparations can also be beneficial in the following situations:

  • Lowering the number of forced or compulsory hospital admissions
  • Educating your loved ones and support staff on how to assist you effectively
  • Discovering what works and what doesn’t
  • Making a recovery more efficient
  • Consolation in knowing that you’ll be prepared in the event of a mental health emergency.


A crisis plan for mental health is a safety net. It’s the difference between being in an uncertain, out-of-control scenario and knowing that I’ve done all possible to avoid worse consequences and get to safety.

You can’t always completely control or prevent a crisis – even if you’re following your treatment plans and trying your best, mental health emergencies can arise. However, you can still be prepared.

We may seek help sooner and take care of ourselves now when we may not be able to later if we have the necessary tools. Remember that you are not alone. You deserve help. You can check out our blog on mental health first aid basics and know more. 

Every week, keep an eye out for our mental health blog posts.

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