Steps to take when you're experiencing a crisis

If You are Having Experiences Such As:

  • Have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, including a plan and/or intention to carry it out
  • Are seeing or hearing things (hallucinations)
  • Have bizarre or paranoid ideas (delusions)
  • Are so revved up or impulsive that you are doing dangerous or harmful things
  • Feel too exhausted or depressed to get out of bed or take care of yourself or your family
  • Can’t stop using alcohol or other substances in harmful ways
  • Have not eaten or slept for several days
  • Have tried outpatient treatment (therapy, medication and support) and still have symptoms that significantly interfere with your life
  • Are otherwise distraught & out of control
You are very likely experiencing a psychiatric emergency and are in need of help immediately

If you need immediate help (i.e. are in imminent danger of hurting yourself and/or others):

If you have time to start with a phone call for guidance and support from a mental health professional:

  • Call your mental health team, if you have one
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988(or visit this website if you are located out of the US, or want a hotline more tailored to your needs (i.e. for LGBTQIA+ individuals, Veterans, etc.)
  • Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

You might be feeling scared, hopeless, ashamed, alone, worthless, numb, or any other number of emotions. These emotions are real and valid.

Just know that you are not alone in feeling this way, and that you mean something to this world just by being in it. Remember what our old friend Winnie the Pooh told us, “you are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” We at Cereal for Dinner believe in you, even if it’s hard to believe in yourself right now. ♥

Need an immediate message of hope? Text “HOPE” to (312) 313-1110

Additional Resources

Coping Skills for Urges to Kill Self

Please use these skills when you have overwhelming emotions (especially overwhelming urges to kill yourself) in conjunction with contacting one of the emergency resources outlined above:

Stop, Drop, Roll: Steps for being “On Fire” emotionally from on Vimeo.

Stories of Hope (You Can Get Through This)

These are stories of individuals who have experienced intensely strong emotions – sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, even intense numbness – and they have made it through to tomorrow, just like you can. 

  • Hope page – videos and articles of people who have experienced various types of depression and are recovering/learned to manage symptoms & live life.
  • – a fantastic resource allowing you to tell your story and get support from others who have been there, & also watch videos of people who have experienced similar feelings.
  • Caring Messages – these are caring messages from people who have experienced intensely suicidal thoughts, & also from clinicians who treat people with those thoughts.
  • Live Through This – written stories of suicide attempt survivors who are living well and managing symptoms. Trigger warning: suicide.
Crisis Preparation
  • Put preferred crisis hotline on phone for easy access (crisis lines here)
  • Create a safety plan, which is a list of coping strategies that work for you when distressed and your sources of support. It can also help with identifying warning signs so you can be proactive about responding when you’re not doing so well. As a result, you can help yourself to stay safe. You should ideally create this with a mental health provider. A few ways to make a safety plan are:
    • My 3 is a downloadable app recommended by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that creates a safety plan for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
    • My Safety Plan, which helps you to easily create a PDF of a safety plan. 
    • Silver Hill Hospital Safety Plan, which includes a lot of helpful questions to identify emotion triggers, coping skills and also personal strengths and reasons to live.
    • Now Matters Now safety plan, which includes specific coping skills and resources to try.
  • Create a crisis box. These typically include items that stimulate all 5 senses and that provide you with comfort when distressed. Check out this video for ideas.
Navigating a Mental Health Crisis (for Caregivers)
  • Navigating a Mental Health Crisis is a comprehensive resource guide created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness primarily for those who are assisting someone in experiencing a mental health crisis.