Supporting someone with a mental illness - Difficult situations
How can I deal with crisis situations?
It is important to plan for crisis situations, so that you will know who to contact in an emergency. Make a personal plan which has information about signs that a crisis might happen and what you can do if it does.
There is a sample plan at the end of this factsheet. The sample plan is just a guide about what information to have on your plan. If the person you care for has a crisis plan from their mental health team it should be the first one you follow in a crisis.
You can find more information about ‘Getting Help in a Crisis’ here.
How can I deal with difficult behaviour?
When supporting someone, you might find some of the things they do difficult to deal with. The person you care for may:
- misuse drugs or alcohol,
- be aggressive towards yourself or other people,
- self-harm, and
- be sexually inappropriate.
Trying to manage difficult behaviour can cause stress on your relationship with the person you are supporting. Depending on the difficult behaviour you could try:
- having an agreement about using alcohol - when they can use it, what type of alcohol and how much,
- setting up rules about using drugs in the house,
- having clear rules about what happens if there is any aggressive or harmful behaviour, such as paying for any damage done or calling the police,
- learning to spot signs that someone might self-harm and trying to find ways to stop it, and
- taking some time away from each other -go for a walk or go to separate rooms for some space.
If the person you care for has complex mental health needs, you can always ask their mental health team for some specific advice about how to support them. You can talk about the things you have tried and what you think is not working. Mental health professionals will have experience of managing challenging behaviour and you can think through some things which might work.
You can click on the following topics to find out more about them:
Responding to unusual behaviour
Drugs, alcohol and mental health
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays