Home About Calendar Programs & Training Resources Advocacy Crisis Support


Crisis Information

Be Prepared for a Crisis Emergency Phone Numbers for Frederick County What to do in a Psychiatric Crisis in Frederick County What to do in a Psychiatric Crisis in Maryland (Could combine with a.)

Prepare For a Crisis

How to Prepare for a Psychiatric Crisis

The American Psychiatric Association defines a psychiatric crisis as, “an acute disturbance of thought, mood, behavior, or social relationship that requires intervention.” When a psychiatric crisis occurs, we often feel overwhelmed and unsure of what we should do. Being prepared will help get the best treatment for your loved one, as well as make the situation easier for you to handle.
A psychiatric crisis can include any of the following: sudden change in behavior, acute symptoms, erratic behavior, thoughts of suicide, out of control or risky behavior, inability to care for self, feeling distraught, not taking prescribed medications, acts of violence, thoughts of homicide.
When a loved one is admitted to a hospital it is important to remember that his/her out-patient psychiatrist is not considered the treating physician. Sometimes the out-patient psychiatrist may consult with the treating physician, but not always. This is the same if your loved one is arrested for a crime. Most often you are dealing with a doctor who knows nothing about your loved one, including their medical history. Having a crisis emergency 3-ring binder (or folder) that is ready to go can be most helpful. If you’re speaking on the phone to a doctor you can quickly flip through the pages for information. The binder can easily be transported, should you want to take it to the hospital or other facility. Remember to update the binder periodically with any changes. We recommend that the following things should be included in your binder:

Crisis Emergency Binder

  • Name, Age & Current Address of loved one in crisis
  • Psychiatric Diagnosis - Age at onset of illness
  • Several Photo Copies of Insurance Card/s (front and back)
  • Name & Contact Info of local (out-patient) psychiatrist
  • Several Copies of Signed Advanced Medical Directive or Durable Medical Power of Attorney
  • Several Copies of Signed HIPPA Release Forms (Authorizes medical personnel to share information with you. Photo copies or facsimiles are legally acceptable.)
  • Brief Description (or list) of current concerns (ie: suicidal, substance abuse, erratic behavior, refusing to take meds, etc.)
  • Brief Description (or list) of any repeating past history of symptoms/behaviors (Often the same symptoms or patterns of behavior will occur when someone is very ill.)
  • List of Currently Prescribed Medication/s
  • List of Past Medications that have not been successful (ie: allergic reaction)
  • List of Past Medications that have been successful or somewhat successful
  • List of Previous Hospitalizations (dates/locations)
  • List of Previous Arrests/Time in Jail (dates/charges)
  • Extra Paper (keep notes of everything during the crisis--meetings with doctors, social workers, etc.)
  • List of names & phone numbers of people who need to be contacted in a crisis (ie: loved one’s employer, neighbor to feed pets, pastor, etc.)

Last modified on Thursday, August 13, 2015 12:09pm