Experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis means feeling at breaking point and in need of urgent help.

Situations that might trigger or contribute towards experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis for children and young people:

  • Relationship difficulties or conflict and arguments with friends, family or partners.
  • Bulling/ teasing/ harassment (verbal, physical, emotional, financial, sexual); direct or indirect.
  • Abuse (verbal, physical, emotional, financial, sexual, neglect); direct or indirect
  • Being in or worrying about being in trouble.
  • Difficulties through social media 
  • Having multiple demands/ having too many things to process, manage or do
  • Stressful or traumatic life events which can be sudden, unexpected or expected such as accidents, injury or illness, bereavement, family breakdown or change in living circumstances.
  • A build up of difficulties over time.

It is not just the situation itself but the thoughts the young person is experiencing along with the situation. For example, self-criticism, thoughts about not coping, about wanting to escape emotional pain. Recovery is about being able to manage difficult thoughts and feelings in a more helpful way, and deal with the situation, if that has triggered the crisis more effectively, if that is possible. 

Making a coping plan with a young person:

Every young person could benefit from having their own coping plan, whether they are known to experience episodes of crisis or not. A coping plan can be completed by anyone but should always be done with a young person.

A coping plan should consider the following;

  • What it looks like when the young person is well, coping and functioning at their usual level.
  • What early warning signs begin to show when a young person is struggling.
  • What signs indicate when a young person is in crisis.
  • What some of the triggers or contributing factors might be for a crisis.
  • An action plan of what to do when the early warning signs are showing.
  • An action plan of what to do when in crisis

Watch a video of someone completing this coping and crisis plan with a young person here:

Getting support

Scroll to the bottom of the page for lots of useful resources

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