Home > Responding to crisis situations

Responding to crisis situations

Mental illness is not automatically associated with crisis. However, when a crisis does occur, you want to be ready to take action. That’s why it’s important to anticipate the steps you’ll need to take in a crisis situation.


Planning for crisis situations

  • Make a list of telephone numbers to use in case of a crisis, including those for the police department, crisis centre, community support program, doctor and/or psychiatrist, your local Réseau Avant de Craquer affiliate and the health care facility where your loved one may be hospitalized.
  • Ask your loved one in advance which hospital to go to in case of an emergency.
  • Determine which family member or friend your loved one is most likely to trust.
  • Establish who you can call for help, no matter what time of day or night.
  • If necessary, plan who will take care of children or pets.

Your loved one is less likely to be frightened during a crisis if they were involved in creating the emergency plan and know what to expect.


Responding to crisis situations

Here are some tips to guide your crisis response :

  • Remain as calm as possible.
  • Eliminate distractions (radio, television, etc.).
  • Only one person should speak at a time.
  • Comment on the behaviours you observe (you are scared, confused, etc.).
  • Avoid using an authoritative tone and shouting.
  • If necessary, repeat questions using the same phrasing.
  • Give the person some space and avoid being overly emotional.

You must also determine the urgency of the situation and respond accordingly.


It is serious and urgent

If the person is putting their life or the lives of others in danger (i.e., violent behaviour, suicidal thoughts), contact 911. The police will decide whether to take them to the hospital emergency room to be examined by a doctor, even if they do not want to go. You can contact us with all your questions, no matter how delicate or complex, and we will be able to provide you with support during this difficult period.

For suicidal thoughts, we recommend visiting the Association Québécoise de Prévention du Suicide website or calling 1-866-277-3553.


It is serious but not urgent

If the situation is serious, but there is no immediate danger (i.e., their words are incoherent, they are hearing voices, etc.), you can contact us and we will guide you through the steps to take.


Things to remember

It is better to prepare for a crisis before it happens. This involves creating a specific plan and, ideally, sharing it with your loved one. By having all the information at hand, you can respond appropriately and avoid potential consequences.

Either way, you must determine whether or not the situation constitutes an emergency. In case of emergency, call 911 immediately.

When responding during a crisis, try to remain calm and avoid raising your voice or being too authoritarian.


Useful links

L’Association québécoise de prévention du suicide

Regroupement des Centres de prévention du suicide du Québec – RCPSQ

Regroupement des Services d’intervention de Crise du Québec

Thanks to our partners :

Jean Coutu
VIA Rail Canada
L’Appui proches aidants
Réseaux communautaire de Santé et de Services sociaux
Éric Lamirande
Centre d’apprentissage Santé et Rétablissement
Lafrance Communication
David Communication
Desjardins Caisse du Plateau Montcalm
Centre Axel
Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
Fondation Québec Philanthrope

Allies for the website : Marc-André Cright | Serge Daigneault