1. Plan and think ahead.
Print a list of emergency numbers using the “Resources” tab on this site. Add your own numbers for therapists, doctors, helpful friends, neighbors and NAMI friends. Keep these numbers posted by your phone or in a place where you can find them. Know what steps to take if you or your family member gets out of control (see #4).
2. Keep a diary or thorough notes about:
a. the ill person’s diagnosis and medical conditions
b. medications (strength being taken) as well as medications not tolerated
c. current doctor(s) and latest visit
d. specific behaviors and actions that preceded and followed the crisis
When needed, you may provide a copy of this information to the Crisis Team, mental health professionals or the police.
3. Consider alternative options such as:
The Warmline (1-888-945-1414) is a call in service that provides the mental health consumer community with a place to turn if they need someone to talk to. It is run by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. The staff are mental health consumers that have received the training and education needed to provide Warmline services to the community. All calls are kept confidential. What you say is kept between you and the Warmline staff. The only exception is when the call is considered a crisis; in this case the call will be referred to the crisis service.
Support Groups for family & consumers are a safe, confidential place that offer respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope to share amongst peers. Before attending a support group it’s advisable to call/email and confirm the meeting location, date and time since meeting information may not be up-todate. It’s also advisable to attend more than one group so you can find one where you feel comfortable sharing. To find a Recovery Support Group in GA listed by towns (ours is Cumming), click on http://www.namiga.org/Chapters/index.htm
4. If things escalate:
a. Don’t threaten, criticize or shout.
b. Avoid direct, continuous eye contact or touching the person.
c. Don’t crowd the person’s space by getting too close.
d. Don’t argue with other family members over what to do.
e. Don’t stand over the person. If he is seated, seat yourself.
5. If necessary call 911 or the Georgia Crisis & Access Line 1-800-715-4225.
Keep you & your family safe; you may need to remove yourself from the situation. If the police come, they will usually separate family members into different rooms to make sure the situation doesn’t escalate, and everyone is free to talk. This is standard procedure.
6. Remember to take care of yourself.
Exercise regularly, eat appropriate meals, try to maintain a regular schedule with time off for fun and relaxation, and most importantly get an adequate amount of sleep. Even if you are in crisis, try to keep mental illness from consuming your life.