Mental Health First Aid Kit

Compile a list of telephone numbers for key people, agencies and organizations that should be contacted if there is an emergency, some examples are shown below:

The number for your Psychiatric Case Manager or Assertive Community Treatment (PACT or ACT team)

Mobile Crisis Management Team 24/7/365   phone: 1-888-573-1006

Mobile Crisis Management Team provides intensive, on site intervention and stabilization of individuals experiencing a mental health, substance abuse, and/or developmental disability crisis.

Smoky Mountain LME/MCO Access Line 24/7/365: 1-800-849-6127 (TTY:NC Relay 711)

National Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Intervention Team, specially trained law enforcement officers who have undergone training on how to handle a person in crisis. When calling for assistance from the police or sheriff’s office call 911 and ask for a CIT officer.

Homeless Shelters:

http://www.mainstayhelp.org/  828-693-3840

Rescue Mission located at 639 Maple Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792  (828) 697-1354    http://www.hendersonvillerescuemission.com/

Have a complete psychiatric and medical history on hand during a crisis. Has your loved one filled out an advance directive? (National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives: http://www.nrc-pad.org/

Do you know what medications your family member does and doesn’t want to take and why?

Medication Information such as :

Complete list of current medications

Dosages

Date started

Previous medications and reason stopped

Age diagnosed

Dates and locations of previous hospitalizations

Involuntary Commitment obtained at Magistrate’s office for Henderson County call: 828-694-4250

Polk County: 828-894-8819 after hours 828-894-0187

Have you talked over an emergency action plan with the family member who has a mental disorder when he/she has the symptoms of his/her illness under control so that you can make sure that their wishes, when possible, can be carried out? It is vital that a plan be made prior to an actual crisis occurring.

IN A CRISIS GENERAL GUIDELINES quoted from TAC (Treatment Advocacy Center)

IN ANY CRISIS: Your goal in an emergency is to stabilize the situation and get the person to professional help as quickly as possible.

Do not try to manage the situation alone – sometimes just having another party present or on the phone with your loved one will defuse a situation.

Start at the top of your Emergency Contacts list and work your way down – If it is an evening or weekend and you cannot reach providers or agencies, call the most appropriate hot-line.

Speak to your loved one in a calm, quiet voice – if it seems he/she isn’t listening or can’t hear you, it is possible that auditory hallucinations (“voices”) may be interfering. Don’t shout; raising your voice won’t help and may escalate tensions.

Keep instructions and explanations simple and clear – Say, “We’re going to the car now,” not, “After we get in the car, we’ll drive to your doctor’s office so she can examine you.”

Respond to delusions by talking about the person’s feelings, not about the delusions – Say, “This must be frightening,” not “You shouldn’t be frightened – nobody’s going to hurt you.”

Don’t stare – Direct eye contact may be perceived as confrontational or threatening.

Don’t touch unless absolutely necessary – Touch may be perceived as a threat and trigger a violent reaction.

Don’t stand over the person – If the person is seated, seat yourself to avoid being perceived as trying to control or intimidate.

Don’t give multiple choices or ask multi-part questions – Choices will increase confusion. Say, “Would you like me to call your psychiatrist?” not “Would you rather I called your psychiatrist or your therapist?”

Don’t threaten or criticize – Acute mental illness is a medical emergency. Suggesting that the person has chosen to be in this condition won’t help and may escalate tension.

Don’t argue with others on the scene – Conduct all discussion of the situation quietly and out of the person’s hearing.

Don’t whisper, joke or laugh – This may increase agitation and/or trigger paranoia.

Recommended reading Dr. Xavier Amador’s book, I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Your Help

*Above content taken and edited from Pete Earley’s website: http://www.peteearley.com/

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