This is a special series on Mental Health in Greater Victoria. Find the entire series online at vicnews.com/tag/mental-health-in-greater-victoria. You can also find Black Press Media’s Mental Health Resource Guide online at vicnews.com/e-editions.
Many people plan for major disasters by creating emergency bags but few plan ahead for a mental health crisis.
Crisis planning is a way to ensure friends or family members can recognize the warning signs, and know what to do if a mental health crisis takes place. A crisis plan can be created by an individual or their loved ones, and may include some of the following items:
- A description of what it’s like when the person is feeling well
- A description of what it’s like when that person is no longer capable of making decisions
- A list of people who can make decisions if the person is no longer capable
- Phone numbers for health care providers
- A list of family members and friends who would be useful in a health crisis
- A list of people who would not be useful in a health crisis
- Local crisis numbers
- A description of the person’s diagnosis and medications
- History of drug use, episodes of psychosis or suicide attempts
- A list of known triggers
- Things that have helped in the past
- Preferred treatment facilities and why
- Acceptable/Unacceptable treatments and why
- A list of things that supporters need to take care of (children, pets, bills, plants, etc.)
Many different sample crisis plans are available online. They should be completed in a time of stability, and when complete, distributed to trusted friends or family members. Some people also choose to have it signed by a lawyer and witnesses.