5. Staying safe and managing crises


When a crisis becomes an emergency


Some people experiencing an episode of psychosis, or in recovery following an episode of psychosis, may be at increased risk of suicide. They may feel desperately unhappy about the illness and the impact of it on their life. They may be responding to symptoms (e.g., voices telling them to harm themselves) or think that life is not worth living. People experiencing suicidal thoughts may attempt to hurt themselves. Any signs of suicide or self-harm must be taken seriously.

Suicide should be openly discussed with your relative and their treatment team. A discussion about suicide does not encourage the person to think about suicide or act on suicidal thoughts. In fact, a discussion can encourage someone to share suicidal thoughts. Talking about suicide also provides everyone with direction and support if your relative has suicidal thoughts.

The best solution when there is a serious crisis is to get your relative to agree to see the doctor or go to the emergency department. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. If your relative is in a crisis or emergency situation, accompany them to the nearest emergency department. If they are unwilling and you are concerned, call 911.

If your loved one appears to be a danger to themselves or someone else and refuses to seek help, you can get a judge or justice of the peace to issue a document that authorizes the police to take your relative for an assessment. The Mental Health Act allows physicians and/or concerned family members to request an emergency assessment through either:

    Form 1: acquired through a physician who has seen the person in the past seven days
    Form 2: acquired through a justice of the peace that a family member consults.

Empowering Families Affected by Psychosis © , CAMH.