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BLOG: What's the definition of a mental health crisis?

Posted
A depressed teen covering her ears, blurry behind a rainy pane of glass.

Question: How do I know whether someone I care about is having a mental health crisis?

Answer: It can be hard to know when someone is having a mental health crisis that needs professional intervention. But local experts say that if you’re in doubt, call for help. That’s because the caller is the one who defines whether it’s a crisis. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Changes in behavior (Examples include: isolation from others, an increase or decrease in time spent sleeping, difficulty maintaining proper hygiene, speaking in a manner that is incoherent, or holding false beliefs or judgments about external realities.)
  • Frequent or intense emotional reactions (Examples include: punching walls or throwing things when angry, or sobbing uncontrollably when sad.)
  • Mentioning suicide or self-harm
  • Risky or dangerous behavior
  • Substance use/abuse

Q: Who should I call if I, or someone I care about, needs help?

A: The easiest thing to do is to dial 2-1-1 and ask for the Palm Beach County Mobile Response Team. 


Q: What is the Mobile Response Team?

A: The South County Mobile Response Team (MRT) is a team of Mobile Response Specialists who travel to the scene of mental health crises, assess the nature of the crisis, and provide a recommendation to treat the crisis. The Mobile Response Team follows up with the individual or family until another mental health provider in the community is available to help long-term. The Mobile Response Team works with people of all ages, including children, adults and families. 


Q: Who can call the South County Mobile Response Team and where will they go?

A: Anyone can call the South County Mobile Response Team! Teachers, parents, co-workers, family, friends, or anyone in-between can request a mobile response. The South County Mobile Response Team will dispatch to any location in Palm Beach County, including but not limited to: homes, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, physicians’ offices and other public areas.


Q: What are the hours of the South County Mobile Response Team and how long does it take for them to arrive?

A: The South County Mobile Response Team operates 24/7, 365 days a year! The average time it takes for a responder to arrive on scene is one hour or less. 


Q: How much does it cost?

A: All services provided by the South County Mobile Response Team are free of charge. The program is funded by the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network.  


Q: Will the South County Mobile Response Team involuntarily hospitalize (known in Florida as the Baker Act) me, my family member or the person in crisis?

A: The goal of the South County Mobile Response Team is to keep people in the community as much as possible. The Mobile Response Team seeks to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations by connecting individuals and families to ongoing mental health resources. The Mobile Response Team will only recommend hospitalization when absolutely necessary for safety. In many cases, the client remains in the community with a safety plan to follow. 


Q: Can I call before a crisis takes place?

A: Yes! Mobile Response Specialists seek to connect individuals/families to mental health resources, and also help by creating crisis and safety plans to use if a crisis does occur. 

SOURCE:
Griffin Harrow, M.S.,LMFT,  Family Systems Navigator, South County Mental Health Center


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