Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

This is a special series on Mental Health in Greater Victoria. Find the entire series online at vicnews.com/tag/mental-health-in-greater-victoria. You can also find Black Press Media’s Mental Health Resource Guide online at vicnews.com/e-editions.

Many people plan for major disasters by creating emergency bags but few plan ahead for a mental health crisis.

Crisis planning is a way to ensure friends or family members can recognize the warning signs, and know what to do if a mental health crisis takes place. A crisis plan can be created by an individual or their loved ones, and may include some of the following items:

  • A description of what it’s like when the person is feeling well
  • A description of what it’s like when that person is no longer capable of making decisions
  • A list of people who can make decisions if the person is no longer capable
  • Phone numbers for health care providers
  • A list of family members and friends who would be useful in a health crisis
  • A list of people who would not be useful in a health crisis
  • Local crisis numbers
  • A description of the person’s diagnosis and medications
  • History of drug use, episodes of psychosis or suicide attempts
  • A list of known triggers
  • Things that have helped in the past
  • Preferred treatment facilities and why
  • Acceptable/Unacceptable treatments and why
  • A list of things that supporters need to take care of (children, pets, bills, plants, etc.)

Many different sample crisis plans are available online. They should be completed in a time of stability, and when complete, distributed to trusted friends or family members. Some people also choose to have it signed by a lawyer and witnesses.

ALSO READ: Entrepreneurship program for youth with mental health challenges returns to Victoria

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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