Am I experiencing a mental health crisis?
When should I go to the hospital?

If you are experiencing any combination of the following symptoms and you are unable to stabilize on your own or with the assistance of another person, then you should visit a hospital. There are several crisis centers and mental health hospitals throughout the state of Idaho (visit our Crisis Resources page for information on crisis centers and hospitals). If there is not a mental health hospital or crisis center near you then you should go to your nearest emergency room. If you are visiting an emergency room, ask to speak with the social worker on staff. They can help advocate for you while you are there.

A mental health crisis can manifest in various ways and can be highly individualized, depending on the person’s specific experiences, mental health condition, and coping mechanisms. While each person’s experience may be unique, there are some common feelings and signs that individuals might experience during a mental health crisis:

  1. Intense Emotional Distress: People in a mental health crisis often experience overwhelming and intense emotions such as extreme sadness, anxiety, anger, fear, or despair. These emotions may feel uncontrollable and disproportionately strong.
  1. Overwhelming Thoughts: Thoughts during a crisis can become rapid, intrusive, and difficult to manage. Negative or self-critical thoughts may dominate, making it challenging to focus or think clearly.
  1. Loss of Control: Many individuals describe feeling as though they’ve lost control over their thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. This loss of control can contribute to heightened distress and a sense of helplessness.
  1. Physical Symptoms: A mental health crisis can lead to physical symptoms such as racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, sweating, or a sense of numbness. These symptoms may mimic those of a panic attack.
  1. Isolation: People in crisis often withdraw from social interactions and isolate themselves from friends, family, and activities they once enjoyed. Isolation can intensify feelings of loneliness and despair.
  1. Feeling Disconnected: A sense of detachment from oneself or from reality (known as dissociation) can occur during a crisis. People might describe feeling as though they’re watching themselves from outside their own body.
  1. Impulsive Behavior: A mental health crisis can lead to impulsive and risky behaviors, such as self-harm, substance abuse, reckless driving, or other actions that are out of character.
  1. Hopelessness: A pervasive feeling of hopelessness or a belief that there is no way out of the distressing situation may be present. This can contribute to a sense of despair and a lack of motivation to seek help.
  1. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia, nightmares, or other sleep disturbances may become more pronounced during a crisis, contributing to overall distress and fatigue.
  1. Suicidal Thoughts: In some cases, a mental health crisis may involve thoughts of self-harm or suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, it’s crucial to seek help immediately.

It’s important to note that a mental health crisis can vary widely in intensity and duration. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, seeking professional help is essential. Reach out to a mental health professional, a helpline, or a trusted individual in your support network. Remember that help and support are available, and reaching out for assistance is a sign of strength and self-care.

If you find that any of this information is incorrect or out of date please let us know. We want to make sure all the information on this site is relevant and useful. 

Thank you.