5. Staying safe and managing crises


What is a crisis?

A crisis is any serious deterioration of a person’s ability to cope. People in crisis may experience extreme despair, sorrow or anger. A relative hearing voices that tell them to harm themselves and other severe symptoms may require emergency care. Situations involving housing, financial losses or child welfare can also become crises. These situations can be extremely stressful for families.

A person with psychosis may experience:

    an increase in the severity of symptoms (e.g., self-harming behaviour, episodes of severe psychosis, severe depression or suicide attempts)
    serious medical problems due to the adverse effects of the illness or medications
    serious legal problems (e.g., arrest warrant or criminal charge)
    behavioural problems (e.g., violence or stealing)
    serious life stresses (e.g., loss of housing, loss of job, loss of children or debt)
    serious relationship problems.

Family members may experience:

    serious medical problems related to stress (e.g., heart attack or eating disorder)
    mental health problems (e.g., depression, acute anxiety or suicide attempts)
    safety concerns related to the behaviour of the person with psychosis
    financial problems.

Empowering Families Affected by Psychosis © , CAMH.