How should I prepare for a crisis? Should I have a plan? What should it look like?
Emergencies that have happened over the last two years with your mentally ill loved one will probably be the same ones that will happen over the next two years. Review what was done in the past and how it could be improved. Then you will have a plan that can guide your actions in future emergencies.
- The plan should be written. Trying to remember details in a crisis can be difficult. Having a written list of steps and procedures can help you focus on the immediate situation.
- Include phone numbers and addresses of resources:
- Mental health clinic, outpatient facility.
- Emergency inpatient facilities.
- Emergency/Crisis teams who have responded in the past.
- Friends and relatives who will provide support.
- Have solutions to problems that have worked in the past.
For example, “Call the outpatient clinic and leave a message telling the doctor what has been happening and suggesting that an increase or change in medication may be helpful.”
- Have instructions on what to do and how to act.
For example “If _______gets upset, stay calm and call the emergency line # __________________.
- Have alternatives for all times: day and night, weekdays and weekends.
For example, “If the outpatient clinic is closed, call __________________.
- Have alternatives if first steps don’t work.
For example, If such and such number doesn’t answer, try ______.
- Have the plan carry through to the final resolution of the problem.
Don’t leave anything to chance.
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