A mental health crisis is a time of intense difficulty, trouble or danger that includes episodes ranging from severe disruptive behavior, to acute psychosis, to threats to harm self or others. When you have a child experiencing any or all of these, your first instinct may be to take them to the emergency room. According to the “Children’s Mental Health Matters!” campaign, there are a few downsides to taking a child to the emergency room if he or she is experiencing a mental health crisis. Long waits for evaluation, longs waits for open beds, unsympathetic staff, and the inability to leave the child alone in the emergency room mean that emergency rooms are not often well equipped to deal with these events.
The campaign releases alternatives that may be helpful when dealing with a child experiencing a crisis. The benefits of these alternatives include quick access to a licensed mental health professional and less restrictive mental health services in the community. Alternatives are :
- Mental Health Crisis Teams – trained professionals that will come to your home and help you manage the crisis
- Mental Health Urgent Care Centers – walk – in clinics where you will be able to receive support, evaluations and referrals
- Baltimore Child and Adolescent Response System (B-CARS) – More information for resources (410) 752-2272
“Crisis situations can be very draining on the entire family. Remember to take care of yourself and other family members too.” – www.ChildrensMentalHealthMatters.org