Every day, thousands of people battle mental illness. Sometimes, however, the fight for control of one’s life strikes with such unexpectedness or severity that they need an immediate care response. For those undergoing acute emotional distress, crisis stabilization services can provide the answer. Learn how to utilize them to secure a safe environment, reduce crisis symptoms, and plan for the future.
How to Identify a Mental Health Crisis
Some people, especially those who regularly feel the impact of mental illness, may struggle to identify whether they’re experiencing a mental health crisis. It can be easy to fall into the mindset of “wait and see.” Someone may even try to disregard their symptoms entirely in an attempt to “tough it out.”
However, ignoring signs of an acute crisis can be very dangerous. It can threaten not only the individual experiencing it, but those around them as well. For this reason, it’s important to know what marks of distress to look for and how to identify them early.
For example, consider the following symptoms that someone may need crisis stabilization care:
- Thoughts of hurting oneself or others
- Loss of touch with reality
- Excessive substance use
- Inability to meet basic needs (eating, hygiene, etc.)
These are only a few examples of reasons why someone may need to seek a crisis center. Any of the above can put people in danger, which is the exact type of situation crisis stabilization services work to avoid.
In other words, if you suspect you could be a danger to yourself or others, whether through direct or indirect action, it may be time to reach out to a mental health facility. Trained medical professionals can help soothe your symptoms and return them to a manageable level, all while in a safe, peaceful environment.
The Baker Act
In addition, individuals in Florida may also be admitted to psychiatric hospitals under the Baker Act. The Baker Act includes provisions for a wide range of mental health issues, but this context refers to its criteria for involuntary commitment to mental health centers.
Essentially, the Baker Act enables people to undergo crisis stabilization even if they cannot recognize their own state of distress. This is accomplished by judges, doctors, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officers, all of whom can place those who meet specific criteria under involuntary mental health assessment.
Before it can be used, the Baker Act requires adequate evidence that an individual meets those criteria. Even so, it stands as a valuable tool for those in extreme emotional distress by ensuring they can receive the care they need.
Crisis Stabilization Services
Many crisis stabilization units offer care 24 hours a day to provide the most possible coverage to those in need. Moreover, they are typically seen as a stronger alternative to standard emergency rooms due to their specialized staff and treatment options.
So, when someone decides to seek help for an acute crisis, what can they expect? Most mental health facilities that offer crisis care implement treatment in stages. At Springbrook Hospital, these stages include assessment, stabilization, and aftercare.
The first stage of crisis intervention involves assessing the details of the patient’s mental state. While they are known to be in a crisis upon arrival, any additional information helps our staff build an optimal treatment plan for each individual.
Specific factors assessment helps determine include:
- Which daily functions are impaired, and to what extent
- Which daily functions remain normal
- History of mental illness
- Whether a triggering event caused the crisis
- And if so, the exact nature of the event
Ultimately, all data collected during the assessment phase of treatment goes into creating a detailed, personalized crisis stabilization plan. It is a vital step to deliver swift and effective treatment.
Following the identification of the main factors contributing to someone’s crisis, our team of psychiatrists, physicians, and social workers execute the best treatment plan for that patient. In many cases, crisis care operates like a short-term residential program. Therefore, many of the treatment options it utilizes are similar to those seen in longer programs.
Some of the treatment services offered at Springbrook Hospital include:
- Individual therapy
- Psycho-educational focus groups
- Family therapy
- Therapeutic activity groups
- Detoxification from alcohol or drugs
Combined with frequent medical supervision and check-ins to monitor patient status, these treatment options help patients regain their footing during and after a crisis. Furthermore, by providing these services in a safe, structured environment, patients have an easier time de-escalating and remaining stable afterward.
Long-Term Planning After Crisis Stabilization
Managing mental illness is often an ongoing process. Crisis stabilization removes someone from a particularly unsafe situation, but in order to prevent future episodes, they may need to take additional measures as well.
For instance, it may be wise to consider partaking in a longer inpatient mental health program. This type of program goes beyond crisis care and works to resolve symptoms at their source, rather than focusing on teaching people how to manage them at their most extreme. Both approaches are often necessary to maximize one’s recovery success.
That said, individuals who aren’t ready to enroll in a residential program can still take precautionary steps to prepare for the times ahead. For example, someone may develop a crisis plan in the event of future episodes of psychiatric distress. Crisis stabilization centers help with this by equipping patients with the skills and resources needed to take quick, informed action.
Crisis Stabilization for Adults at Springbrook Hospital
Springbrook Hospital offers comprehensive adult psychiatric services that provide both short- and long-term support for those living with mental illness. Our staff of licensed physicians and mental health experts devote every day to improving the lives of patients through evidence-based treatment options and compassionate care.
If you are currently experiencing an acute episode of mental distress and need assistance, call our admissions team at 352-600-3288 or fill out a confidential contact form online. Together, we can develop a crisis stabilization plan to help you return to daily living.