A mental health crisis is a situation in which someone’s mental health has deteriorated to the point where they require immediate and urgent assistance to keep themselves safe. It could involve anxiety, stress, depression, or any other mental health issue that is causing a person to experience significant distress or difficulty functioning in their daily life. 

It is essential to provide support to someone in a mental health crisis. This could be done in a variety of ways, such as providing emotional support, listening to their concerns, and helping them to find professional help or other forms of assistance. It is also important to be aware of any warning signs of a mental health crisis, such as changes in mood or behavior, difficulty sleeping, irritability, or substance abuse. By recognizing the signs of a mental health crisis, it is possible to intervene early and provide the necessary support and resources. If someone is hurting themselves or in imminent danger, call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.

It is also important to remember that mental health crises can be prevented. Taking steps to reduce stress, such as regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and engaging in meaningful activities, can help to promote good mental health. Additionally, it is important to take time to nurture relationships and build strong social connections, as these can provide a sense of support and belonging.

Regularly seeking professional mental health support can also help to reduce the likelihood of a mental health crisis occurring. Medications to manage anxiety and depression can also be helpful. These supports work well when the person is not in crisis; they are not the best tools to use in an emergency situation.

A mental health crisis can manifest itself in various ways, including suicidal thoughts, self-harm, panic attacks, and other destructive behaviors. People in a mental health crisis often feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with their situation. They may feel disconnected from reality, unable to think clearly or to make decisions. They may also experience intense fear and anxiety, as well as feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It is important to understand that a mental health crisis can be just as serious and life-threatening as a physical health crisis. With support, the person’s odds of surviving and recovering from their mental health crisis increase significantly.

If you or someone you care about are having a mental health crisis, call 988 for help. Below are additional emergency hotlines for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Emergency resources & hotlines

Trans Lifeline


9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline  

Crisis Text Chat: text HELLO to 741741

Lifeline Chat 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 

1(800) 662-HELP (4357) 

Don’t Call The Police

Community-based alternatives to police in your city

National Domestic Violence Hotline 

+1 (800) 799-7233

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

+1 (800) 422-4453

TREVOR Crisis Hotline

+1 (866) 488-7386

NOTE: The TREVOR Crisis Hotline is geared towards individuals ages 24 and younger. 

AIDS Crisis Line

+1 (800) 221-7044

National Crisis Line, Anorexia and Bulimia

+1 (800) 233-4357

Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line 

+1 (800) 622-2255

Veterans Crisis Line

Text 838255 or

Call 800-273-8255 and Press 1