Survival Skills

When your loved one is in crisis it can easily overwhelm and consume the entire family. Having the skills in place to identify causes, manage expectations, communicate clearly, and plan for a better future transforms a potentially debilitating interaction into an opportunity for healing and growth.

Don’t get lost in the crisis.

Equip. Educate. Prepare. You are doing a wonderful job caring for your loved one.


Nowhere is it more important to maintain an empathetic mindset toward our loved ones than when they’re experiencing an increase in symptoms that creates a crisis situation. It’s rare that people suddenly lose total control of thoughts, feelings and behavior. Even if your loved one is overwhelmed by symptoms, your empathy and calm may comfort them.


Separate the condition from the person you love, and view their behaviors, even the scary ones, from the perspective of protecting the person with the condition as well as the rest of the family. Don’t take harsh, critical comments personally.


Threatening, shouting, criticizing, arguing, provoking all can make a tense situation worse. Try to sit, avoid direct eye contact, follow reasonable requests, and allow them to leave if they would like will help foster communication. Always ensure you are safe and have an exit if things escalate quickly.

Do You Have a Crisis Plan?

Crisis Plans Include:

  • Multiple emergency contacts — phone and email
  • Physician — phone
  • Psychiatrist — phone
  • Therapist or Counselor — phone and email
  • Case Manager — phone and email
  • Peer Support Specialist — phone and email
  • Current medications & dosages
  • Allergies (medications, foods, etc.)
  • Formal steps to be followed if a crisis reaches a point where outside help must be called.
  • Plans should include how the other family members will be taken care of,
    especially if there are children, people requiring 24-hour physical care or frail seniors involved.

Don’t Walk this Journey Alone

Sign up for our next Family-to-Family Course, and discover community with others walking the same journey and facilitated by individuals who understand.