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Mental illness is unpredictable. Sometimes, even if an individual is following their treatment plan, a crisis may arise. A mental health crisis can occur suddenly and without warning. This can be a frightening experience for the individual, as well as their friends and family. So, it is important a person struggling with a mental illness, and their loved ones, to know how to recognize a mental health crisis and how to respond.

Like any other health crisis, it’s important to address a mental health emergency quickly and effectively. Each HCBH location provides 24-hour crisis and emergency intervention. Simply call your local office and an answering service will forward your information to an on-call licensed provider, who will respond as soon as possible. Our caring, experienced staff are well trained in handling mental health emergencies and will provide an assessment and appropriate care.


What Is a Mental Health Crisis?

A mental health crisis is any situation in which an individual’s behavior:

  • Puts them at risk for hurting themselves or others.
  • Renders them unable to care for themselves.
  • Inhibits them from functioning effectively in their community.

How To Recognize a Developing Mental Health Crisis

Warning signs are not always present prior to a mental health crisis. However, here are some common behaviors that may indicate a mental health crisis is developing.

  • Inability to perform daily tasks like bathing, brushing teeth, brushing hair, changing clothes
  • Dramatic changes in personality, mood and/or behavior
  • Rapid mood swings, increased energy level, inability to stay still, pacing; suddenly depressed, withdrawn; suddenly happy or calm after period of depression
  • Increased agitation, verbal threats, violent, out of-control and/or destructive behavior
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Sense of utter hopelessness and helplessness. Saying things like “Nothing matters anymore”, “You’ll be better off without me,” or “Life isn’t worth living”
  • Giving away money, personal or sentimental items
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and normal activities

Who to Call in a Mental Health Crisis

If you’re worried that you or your loved one is in crisis or nearing a crisis, seek help. Make sure
to assess the urgency of the situation to help determine who to call.

  • Is the person in danger of hurting themselves, others, or property?
    • If immediate danger is present, dial 911.
    • If there is no immediate danger, call your local HCBH office for 24-hour crisis intervention and emergency services.
  • Do you need emergency assistance?
    •  If law enforcement is needed, dial 911 immediately.
    •  For medical assistance, dial 911 or visit your local hospital emergency room.
  • Do you have time to start with a phone call for guidance and support from a mental health professional?
    • Call your local HCBH office for 24-hour crisis intervention services.



National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) resources for navigating mental health crisis.

Warning Signs Of Crisis (ENG)

Warning Signs Of Crisis (ESP)

Warning Signs Of Suicide (ENG)

Warning Signs Of Suicide (ESP)

Preparing for Crisis (ENG)

Preparing for Crisis (ESP)

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis (ENG)       

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis (ESP)


Additional Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

(800) 273-TALK (8255) 

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio

(800) 628-9454

Wyoming-Based Suicide Prevention Hotline 

Call (800) 273-TALK (8255) or text “WYO” to 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line

Idaho Crisis & Suicide Hotline   

Call (800) 273-8255 or text (208) 398-4357

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