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How to Get Help, Relief in Mental Health Crisis

March 11, 2022

By Jessica Matyka Director of Crisis and Community Supports Rushford Across the state, the need for behavioral health treatment and services continues to grow. Not only are behavioral health professionals seeing an increase in the need for services, but the seriousness of those concerns continues to rise as well. Although we are seeing improvement, community members are still struggling with managing the fallout from the pandemic. Whether they are unemployed or underemployed, navigating changes in masking rules in the community and schools, or caring for loved ones, people are facing many challenges as they have persevered through this unprecedented time. Those already heightened symptoms may now also be compounded with changes in the economy and the invasion of Ukraine, which are common themes permeating media the last several weeks. Increases in anxiety, depression and other mental health symptoms are common. But sometimes those symptoms can get to a point where it might affect day-to-day life. If you are concerned about a friend or loved one, it is OK to ask them directly about your concern.  Asking someone directly about suicide and/or about self-harm will not cause someone to act on those thoughts. Instead, it allows you space to express the need for help. If someone confides in you, listen genuinely and allow them to talk without being judgmental. The most important thing is to not wait until symptoms are overwhelming. Talk about concerns with a behavioral health professional or a primary care provider, who can refer you to a behavioral health specialist if needed. Warning signs to look for include:

  • Appetite changes that result in unwanted weight changes.
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of mood.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Loss of interest in things you usually find enjoyable.
  • Inability to perform usual daily functions and responsibilities.
  • Changes in behavior or mood.
  • Increased anger or short temper.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Increased use of alcohol or other mood-altering substances.
Seek professional help if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for two weeks or longer.

What to Do in a Crisis

If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide or self-harm, tell someone who can help right away or dial 911 in an emergency. In Connecticut, dial 211, option 1, to be connected to your local crisis team. Mobile crisis services are available throughout the state and can respond directly to your home. You also can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1.800.273.TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). These   services are free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential. In the event of an overdose or life-threatening emergency, please call 911. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates, or dial 911 in an emergency. For additional information about suicide prevention, please see Connecticut’s Suicide Advisory Board website. A member of the Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network, Rushford offers a full continuum of addiction and mental health treatment for adults and teens throughout central Connecticut at its locations in Avon, Durham, Cheshire, Glastonbury, Meriden, Middletown and Portland. Click here for more information.