Spotting a mental health crisis and where to find help

Where to find help if you're experiencing a crisis

*Trigger Warning – this article references suicide*

As an MSc Counselling student and someone who has been through mental health challenges myself, spreading awareness of ways you can help yourself and others through difficult times is important to me!

So, I thought I would share some signs to help you spot the early stages of a mental health crisis before it reaches crisis point, or what to do if you need support navigating through a crisis.

We all have mental health, and this can fluctuate between good and bad, or for others who struggle with mental health issues, their mental health can begin to intrude on day-to-day functioning if it becomes overwhelming or too challenging.

Often there is not a singular sign that someone is struggling with their mental health but instead, lots of things combine.

Many people who are struggling with their mental health can still function day-to-day, however, once a crisis point is reached the individual begins to find it difficult to cope with their life as things become overbearing, consequently the person is overwhelmed and does not function as they once were able to.

Its okay not to be ok image

Signs of poor mental health

The signs below are not a checklist for self-diagnosis but instead, a good tool to make you aware when it might be a good idea to seek professional help if you are concerned or seek guidance on how to help someone else if you recognise a few in them.

  • Feeling anxious or worried
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Engaging in risky behaviour
Person with disability asleep at a desk

Where to get help

If you are concerned about yourself you should see a doctor or healthcare professional, if you are concerned about a friend or a loved one you should ask them how you can help, or carefully suggest they reach out to their doctor to receive some professional advice.

There is a branch of the uni’s student services dedicated to mental well-being, sub-sections for support include suicidal thoughts, misconduct and harassment support, service information, and self-help.  

Useful contacts (found via the student services page if you require them later on in the future)

If you are in crisis you can contact any of the following support services:

  • Samaritans- Talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can call freephone on 116 123
  • 999- for an ambulance/police
  • Shout- Get 24/7 help from a team of Crisis Volunteers by texting 85258
  • NHS Single Point of Access- Contact your local mental health crisis team on 0303 123 4000 or e-mail spa@nhs.net and explain you need to speak with somebody about your mental wellbeing
  • A&E- You can attend the county hospital if you are feeling unsafe or at risk of harming yourself. Here is a list of local taxi services for Lincoln https://www.yell.com/s/taxis+and+private+hire+vehicles-lincoln.html
  • Security services- If you live in University accommodation, you can call the Security team on 01522 886062

Two people holding hands

Alternatively, if you are having suicidal thoughts but not want to act on them, the below support services could be useful:

  • Shout- Get 24/7 help from a team of Crisis Volunteers by texting 85258
  • Samaritans- Talk to someone about how you are feeling. You can call freephone on 116 123
  • The Mix- Text service for people under 25, text THEMIX at 85258
  • Mental Health Helpline- If you’re feeling low, anxious or stressed and you think that talking to another person may help you cope you can call 0800 001 4331
  • GP- Request an urgent appointment. If you are registered with the University of Lincoln Health Centre, you can contact them on 01522 870010
  • Student Wellbeing Centre- contactable in person or remotely during office hours.
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