EMERGENCY? CALL 911
When calling 911, ask for a CIT Officer to respond.
If you feel there is a danger to any person, call 911 and mention that there is a mental health emergency. If your relative is seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real, do not argue, deny or reason with him/her at this time! Instead, assure them that you love them and that you want to help them.
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training is a training program developed in a number of U.S. states to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental disability.
Use a calm, reassuring voice. Have another family member secure any potential weapons, such as kitchen knives, baseball bats, etc. If the person becomes extremely violent and you feel in danger, leave the premises.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255) 7 days a week/24 hours a day!
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.
Who should call?
If you feel you are in a crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline. People have called us for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.
What Happens when I call?
When you dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you are calling the crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. After you call, you will hear a message saying you have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You will hear hold music while your call is being routed. You will be helped by a skilled, trained crisis worker who will listen to your problems and will tell you about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.
Illinois Warm Line
Call: 1 (866) 359-7953 TTY: 1 (866) 880-4459 Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8am – 5pm
The Warm Line is a new opportunity in Illinois for persons with mental health challenges and their families to receive support by phone. Peer and Family Support Specialists are professionals who have experienced mental health recovery in their own lives as an
individual or family member.
From the main menu, select option #2 for Consumers and Families.
Next, select option #5 for the Warm Line: Peer and Family Support by Phone.
Call: 1-(800) 799-7233 TTY: 1-800-787-3224 7 days a week/24 hours a day!
Veterans Crisis Line:
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs respondents through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT—NON EMERGENCY
Since the parent or caregiver may have to cope with difficult problems and behavior of a family member who has a mental illness, we offer some practical steps to take and suggestions to keep in mind.
Learn what steps to take if the person who is mentally ill is:
• in danger of physical injury
• out of control
• talking about suicide
• posing a threat to the safety of other persons
Keep a list of important information so that you will know how to obtain services when you need them. Consult ahead of time, if possible, with a mental health professional.
In Aurora, contact A.I.D. Crisis Intervention Services at 630-966-9393
7 days a week/24 hours a day!
If you sense deterioration in a relative’s mental condition, try to find out what is going on. Is he/she just having a bad day? Watch for early warning signs. If signs persist, try to get your relative to see a psychiatrist or social worker—the object is to avert a crisis.
If you need to phone for help, keep in your possession written information about the family member’s diagnosis, medications and the specific event or behavior that caused you concern. It may be useful to have several copies to give to the police and to mental health professionals.
Family members may be at a loss as to how to react when someone they love is in crisis. Remember that the illness is no one’s fault, nor is it the fault of the person who is in crisis. Most mental illnesses are considered to be biochemical disorders of the brain diagnosed by their symptoms and treatable. Many families contact their church or religious organization and find comfort and support sharing their concerns with other members of your religious organization. Some referrals can be found with a church.
A person in crisis can have difficulty thinking and hearing, so keep communication simple. If your relative is seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real, do not argue, deny or try to reason with him/her at this time. Instead, assure the person that you love him/her, and understand that what he/she is experiencing is real and that you want to help.
Always be honest. Your relative needs to know that you can be trusted. Discuss the need for hospitalization if this is a possibility, or suggest that he/she get help immediately by talking with a doctor or therapist. Gentle repetition of the same message by family members and friends can help. Encourage someone who is on medication to take that medication regularly; encourage him/her to see the prescribing doctor if experiencing unpleasant symptoms.
Families need to know how to be effective in getting help for a relative who has a serious mental illness. They need to know what questions to ask, what people to see and especially where to go for help when they feel overwhelmed and discouraged.
- Do not be afraid or ashamed to acknowledge that you are the relative of a person who has a brain disorder. This is the first step in removing the stigma attached to mental illness.
- DO KEEP A RECORD OF EVERYTHING. Keep all notices and letters. List names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of crisis events, admissions to hospitals and dates of discharge. Make notes of conversations and conferences.
- Be polite and keep conversations to the point. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated; do not try to intimidate services providers. Sometimes it helps to take a family or friend with you.
- If your relative is age 18 or older, request his or her permission to review all relative information. If your relative does not want to grant full permission, ask for written permission to receive certain specific information such as medications prescribed and the treatment plan.
- Write letters of appreciation when warranted; write letters of criticism when needed. Send these to the hospital supervisor or agency director with copies to anyone else who may be involved. Send copies, if warranted, to your legislature or other state officials if you get no response.
- Do not accept a vague answer or a statement which seems confusing. If a clinician says, “We are observing your son/daughter carefully,” recognize that this statement provides you with NO information! If you are told that the medication may cause “extra-pyramidal” side effects—ask for an explanation.
- Keep your relative informed about everything you plan to do. An individual with a mental illness appreciates being treated with respect and dignity. If he or she disapproves of your action he or she may wish to handle it differently.
- Lobby our legislators for mental health services.
- Be assertive. You are paying, wither directly or indirectly through your taxes, and are entitled to information, respect and courtesy. You are not asking for favors: you are simply helping to get the job done.