Crisis/Emergencies

You are experiencing an acute mental health crisis or case of emergency
and need immediate help?

If you feel trapped in an unbearable situation, always remember there is help you can turn to. This is particularly important to remember when you feel depressed or experience an overwhelming anxiety, like you are losing control of your life, or when you have trouble recognizing what is real and what isn’t. The first step is to simply talk with someone you know well and trust about your feelings of helplessness. A mental or emotional crisis can push us to our absolute limits and sometimes small causes have enormous effects. If a person of trust isn’t available immediately, there are people you can turn to who are trained to recognize a mental or emotional crisis and understand your feelings.

These support services are also there for all those who see signs of a mental crisis in someone they know and feel insecure about what to do or powerless to help.

 

In acute mental health crisis or cases of emergency you may call your doctor or visit him or her right away. Or you call one of the following phone numbers of free German crisis counselling hotlines. They all offer advice in German but also in English language. Just ask for an English speaking counsellor.

  • Telefonseelsorge Tel.: 0800-111 0 111 oder 0800-111 0 222
  • ärztlicher (psychiatrischer) Bereitschaftsdienst Tel.: 116 117
  • Info-Telefon Depression Tel.: 0800-3344533
  • Corona-Hotline des Bund deutscher Psychologen Tel.: 0800-7772244.

If you are in urgent need of a mental health hospital, e. g. because of acute suicidal thoughts or intentions, call 112 for emergency rescue service or just call the police (110) for support. You may also call one of the following nearby mental health hospitals:

  • Kreis Kleve: Tel.: 02821-810,
    LVR Klinik Bedburg Hau, Bahnstraße 6, 47551 Bedburg Hau.
  • Kreis Wesel (Kamp-Lintfort, Moers, Rheinberg, Neukirchen, Alpen): Tel.: 02843-1790,
    St. Nikolaus Hospital Rheinberg, Orsoyer Straße 55, 47495 Rheinberg.

Calling these numbers, you´ll get in contact with the switchboard (“Zentrale”) of the hospital. Tell them, you urgently need to talk to the doctor in charge (“Arzt oder Ärztin vom Dienst”). Describe your crisis or symptoms, then follow the doctor´s advice. 

 

 

What is a mental health crisis?

A mental health crisis is something that can affect anyone. It can result from brief moments of extreme stress like a traumatic, life-altering event, or from longer periods of continued stress. These can be drastic times in your life when you feel uprooted or lonely, experience deep loss or disappointment, or are caught up in psychosocial conflicts or battling mental health problems like depression or anxiety. These situations become emergencies when you feel as though you’ve lost your sense of inner balance. This “loss of balance” is a side effect of feeling utterly overwhelmed by circumstances beyond your control or ability to manage. As a result, your usual coping strategies suddenly don’t work and you don’t have access – or haven’t yet learned – suitable backup strategies. Your normal thought and sensory processes are disrupted. Your mind spins in circles, you can’t focus or think things through anymore.  Feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, sadness or anger become either dull and grey, or hit you with burning, overpowering and terrifying intensity.

Fortunately, many mental health crises can be navigated on your own without professional assistance, but rather with the help of trusted friends and family. Even while in the midst of a mental health crisis, many are still able to find and activate available resources to help. The importance of a trusted friend cannot be overstated, as they can lend you an ear, make you feel calmer and safer, offer personal suggestions that have helped them in the past, and take steps to help reduce your stress. When a mental health crisis strikes, it’s often very difficult to work up the courage to ask for help. Friends provide much needed courage and motivation and can accompany you as you seek out professional help.

Sometimes a mental health crisis can even lead to an acute mental breakdown, possibly putting the victim in danger to themselves or others. Decisive action and professional support are critical in these cases. Relief for the victim must come quickly and the crisis must be averted as soon as possible. When you call an ambulance in Germany, emergency physicians are dispatched as well. These doctors are qualified to administer pharmaceuticals on the spot and, if necessary, commit patients to a mental health hospital. Another option is to seek emergency admission at a mental health hospital directly. Patients will usually undergo an initial screening with a doctor in order to decide whether admission is necessary and, if so, which treatment options should be used. Once a crisis has been de-escalated, doctors will then discuss long-term treatment options with the patient, for example inpatient or outpatient therapy, or visits to day clinics.

 

Translation into English: thx to Brett Ellis.
(Source and further information (in German): www.neurologen-und-psychiater-im-netz.org/krisenotfall/akute-psychische-...)