Accessing mental health resources if you or a loved one are facing a mental health crisis

Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 5:17 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Americans continue to struggle with their mental health, especially after the pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 22 percent of adults received mental health treatment in 2021. That’s up from 19 percent back in 2019.

Experts are now emphasizing the importance of trying to get help from a mental health professional before you hit crisis mode.

Warning signs that someone is having a mental health crisis or that you have hit crisis mode yourself begin with an underlying feeling of something being off, according to mental health expert Bruce Cruser with Mental Health America of Virginia.

“Their routine is disrupted, or they’re not sleeping well, or they’re sleeping too much, or they’re isolating themselves from other people, they’re in pain, they might have a chronic stomach ache or headache,” Cruser explained.

He says it’s important to try to get help when you first start noticing differences in your mood or behavior and before symptoms become intolerable.

“That’s the time to reach out if you have a primary care physician; you can talk to them if you have close friends that you trust. The important thing is to be able to reach out to someone that you trust and tell them that you’re not feeling right so you can talk to them about what’s going on and get help,” he said.

If you have feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or others, that’s when you or a loved one should take a more drastic approach.

“You should call 988, which is the suicide and crisis lifeline number nationally, and it will connect you with people in Virginia in your own area with resources again. You can also call your community services board emergency services number, and they’re 24/7,″ stated Cruser.

He also highlighted the importance of contacting those emergency resource lines before heading to the hospital or calling 911 because you’re more likely to receive the help that is directly aligned with your problems.

“There will be trained behavioral health people who you will be talking to first, and it may be that you don’t need to go to the emergency room or go to the hospital, but if you do, then they can help guide you through that,” he explained.