10 Things To Know If You're Having A Mental Health Crisis

    Knowing what to do can be hard, but doing nothing isn't the answer.

    Whether you’re currently in a crisis or dealing with an escalating mental health issue, seeking out help can be anxiety-inducing — especially if you've heard some horror stories.

    So if you're someone who has been thinking about seeking help for the first time, reading something like that might really, really freak you out.

    To help you navigate this, BuzzFeed Health spoke with the following experts about when and how to seek help:

    * Ranna Parekh, MD, director of the American Psychiatric Association's division of diversity and health equity

    * Lynn Bufka, PhD, associate executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association

    * Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness

    Here's what they had to say:

    1. First, it can be hard to know when you need to see someone, but it's time to reach out if...

    2. If you're feeling vulnerable, scared, or not sure where to begin, calling 911 or a 24-hour hotline is a great first step.

    3. If nothing else, at least call a loved one who will be able to connect you with help.

    4. If you're not in immediate crisis, your primary care doctor is the most recommended first step.

    5. But if you don't have a doctor, or if you decide to do a walk-in somewhere to seek help or assessment, do research ahead of time if you can. Or at the very least, consider bringing a trusted friend or family member with you.

    6. Once you're there, make sure to read any paperwork you sign, and ask someone to explain to you anything you don't understand.

    7. If at any point you feel unsafe or taken advantage of during a mental health assessment or after you've been admitted, don't hesitate to express your concern and ask for more information.

    8. It can be very helpful, if you have the bandwidth and aren’t currently in a crisis, to come up with a crisis prevention plan for the future.

    9. For good measure, here are a few more options and resources to be aware of:

    10. Remember: The goal is to get you the help you need, and most of the time, the care you receive will reflect that.