A crisis is a time of danger or great difficulty. Generally, you will know you are in crisis if you feel like you can’t cope and are not in control. For instance, you may be having difficulty sleeping, eating, paying attention or carrying on your normal routine at home, work or school. Or you may have had a serious setback or be wondering if you can keep going. Acting on thoughts of suicide–for example, cutting your wrists–is an emergency.
A crisis could result from losing your housing, problems with money, worries about your child’s well-being, or a problem or difficult situation that is not cleared up and becomes more serious over time. What is a difficult situation for one person may be a crisis for another, depending on the person’s support system, and how he or she interprets and copes with the problem.
Some people show no signs when they are in crisis. In other people, it is obvious when they are having a hard time. They may behave differently and may not think clearly.
Some people may have thoughts of suicide or have even made suicide attempts. They may feel so hopeless and despairing about their lives that they see dying as the only way out of their difficulties.
More women attempt suicide than men. But more men actually die as a result of suicide because the methods men use are more likely to cause death. Suicide also tends to be more common among people with serious depression, bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depression), schizophrenia; people with substance use problems; people with few social supports; Inuit living in the North; and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual or transgendered who may be struggling with gender identity issues, and experiencing prejudice and discrimination.
Crisis intervention — stepping in to help a person in crisis–involves providing treatment and support as soon as possible after you know the person is in distress.
Ways to get help in a crisis include:
- calling 911 in an emergency.
- contacting a distress or crisis centre.
- going to a hospital emergency department.
- seeking out safe houses and shelters.
- requesting a visit from a mobile crisis unit.
- accessing emergency food and shelter.
For places that can help in times of crisis, please visit the Breakthrough Resources Page.