It is important to think about your child’s safety and also the safety of other members of the household. If the child is considered to be a risk to themselves or their siblings, hospitalization may be recommended. A child who is not stable is compromised in judgment, self-control, and awareness of the consequences of their actions. Steps that parents have taken to safeguard the family include
- locking up any items that could be used to harm self or others;
- putting a lock on the refrigerator if a child has uncontrolled eating binges;
- removing window cranks to prevent a child from climbing out bedroom windows (particularly from a higher floor);
- using the child safety locks on the car;
- removing furniture from the bedroom as well as any heavy objects that can be thrown during a rage;
- putting away all breakables and valuables in the home; and
- locking up all medications so they are out of reach.
You may want to consider training on safe ways to restrain a child. Your child’s psychiatrist or therapist can offer input or refer you to local resources.
Children and teens with mood disorders can become very angry, sad, or even suicidal. It is vital to plan for an emergency before a crisis occurs. Stay calm if your child is in a crisis. It is very scary for a child to feel out of control, and even scarier if adults are also upset. Speak softly and try to help your child to feel safe.
A crisis situation exists any time your child is no longer safe to themself or to others or when there is a need for immediate action or intervention. It is a time when all of your energies are focused on caring for your child. Some advance planning can make a big difference in getting the care and intervention needed for your child and family.
Many community mental health centers offer crisis help. Find out in advance if your community offers a crisis hotline or crisis intervention assistance. Make sure that these emergency phone numbers are readily accessible in case of an emergency.