Be prepared for a crisis

If you are in emotional crisis, thinking about suicide, or are concerned about someone who might be, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

No one wants to worry about a possible mental health crisis, but they do happen. That doesn’t mean you have to feel powerless.

Creating a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) can be helpful in planning for your overall care and how to avoid a crisis. The best time to develop an action plan is when things are going well and you can create it together with your treatment team and other supportive persons.

Your action plan should be individualized to your needs, but common elements may include:

  • Your address and phone number
  • Current diagnoses, along with any medications you take and dosages
  • History of psychosis, suicide attempts, or substance abuse
  • List of what actions or people are likely to make the situation worse
  • Strategies and treatments that have helped you in the past
  • Behaviors to look for that may indicate a crisis is developing
  • Treatment choices and preferences
  • Local crisis line number (you can usually find this by contacting NAMI, or by doing an internet search for “mental health crisis services” and the name of your county)
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number
  • Addresses of nearby walk-in crisis centers or emergency rooms
  • Phone numbers for your therapist, psychiatrist, and other healthcare providers
  • Phone numbers of family members or friends who would be helpful in a crisis
  • The one thing that is most important to you and worth living for
  • Your personal safety plan

Go over your plan with a family member or friend, and with your therapist or healthcare provider. For easy reference, keep copies in several places, such as a kitchen drawer, your glove compartment, on your smartphone, a bedside table, or in your purse or wallet. See a template to complete your personal Wellness Recovery Action Plan.

You can also use the NAMI resource guide on navigating a crisis to help you recognize, manage, prevent, and plan for a mental health emergency – for yourself or a loved one.