Many things can lead to a mental health crisis.
Increased stress, changes in family situations, bullying at school, substance use, and trauma or violence at home or in the community may trigger the sudden appearance of or an increase in behaviors or symptoms that lead to a mental health crisis.
Medical illnesses can also affect a child’s mental health and can lead to a crisis. These issues are difficult for everyone, but they can be more difficult for someone living with a mental illness. This is especially true for a child who probably doesn’t understand their illness and its symptoms.
Here are some examples of situations or stressors that can trigger a mental health crisis:
Learn more by reading NAMI Minnesota's "Mental Health Crisis Planning for Children" booklet.
Content taken from NAMI Minnesota's "Mental Health Crisis Planning for Children" booklet.
The NAMI Ramsey County Book Club got off to a rousing start by featuring two excellent children’s books about mental illnesses, one by a Minnesota author who also works at NAMI Minnesota and the other by an author who lives in Great Britain.
The March 18 virtual event entailed reading both books out loud, followed by group discussion led by Carrie Roach. Carrie is a member of both NAMI Ramsey County and national NAMI boards.
Kate Bartlein, our guest author, read her lovely book Lennon Bruce Fire Breather and described how Lennon Bruce, a child turned dragon, learned to calm down by using a breathing technique his mother taught him.
Bartlein showed us how to use fire breathing: hold out five fingers as "trees" and breathe fire at each extended finger by slowly breathing in through our noses and out through our mouths, putting a finger down after each breath. She explained that it is easier for younger kids to show anger, which may be covering up other feelings, such as fear. She reminded us that this breathing exercise should be practiced before it's actually needed. This is her first book and thankfully she plans to write more. Besides being an author, Kate leads some of NAMI Minnesota’s parent education and support programs.
The second book was The Princess and the Fog by Lloyd Jones and was another delightful book. In the book, the princess gradually becomes enveloped in a deep fog and is only helped back to "normal" after receiving help from several people, including a doctor who gives her a potion and a wise woman who encourages the princess to talk to people about the fog.
Both books were educational and generated good discussion, including what is "normal," the blame parents often feel when their child is ill, and remembering the time when children weren’t supposed to have mental illnesses.
Join us for our next book club event on Thursday, April 15 at 7 p.m. where we will discuss a middle-grade book, The Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reilly. The author will be joining to read passages and answer questions. The book is available in libraries.
Author: Mindy greiling
Mindy was a state representative for 20 years, served on state and national NAMI boards, and is the author of Fix What You Can, a book about her legislative work and her family's story about her son's schizo-affective disorder. She is the board president of NAMI Ramsey County.
1. Start by thinking about what you are advocating for.
What action or position do you want taken? It may help to work on your story last. Focus on elements of your story (or another’s) that support your key message.
2. Introduce yourself (your name and city or town, how you are affected by mental illnesses). Aim for three to four sentences.
Tell your story (what happened; what helped; how are things different today). Aim for five to ten sentences. Your story should support step 3, your "ask."
3. Make your point and your "ask"-- and say thank you. Aim for two to three sentences.
Give a brief, positive message about the need for access to community mental health services for recovery.
Author: NAMI Minnesota
You can sign up for NAMI Minnesota's legislative updates here.
Dear Commissioner Carter:
As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed long-standing, significant weaknesses in the emergency and affordable housing available in Ramsey County.
On behalf of NAMI Ramsey County (National Alliance on Mental Illness), we implore you to prioritize housing for people living with serious mental illnesses who have long been overrepresented--and frequently overlooked--in populations of those experiencing homelessness. All too often people living with mental illnesses are discharged from in-patient hospital care, sober living, and community care facilities to the street with no housing plan. Added to that, their behaviors, stemming from a mental illness and/or substance abuse, too frequently bar them from available shelters.
As our board discussed in a recent letter to you, we urge Ramsey County to opt into the new engagement law allowing mental health workers to work with families on early intervention during the time a person living with a serious mental illness is decompensating. This is crucial to help people from losing their housing, being unnecessarily hospitalized, or worse yet, dispatched
through the criminal justice system when medical treatment for a disease of the nervous system is required.
Our board would gratefully discuss these and other issues related to mental illness and homelessness with you. We applaud your recent formation of county governance and steering committees to assist you in determining Ramsey County’s affordable housing response, and likewise would appreciate the opportunity to provide input from families and people with lived experiences of mental illnesses.
Please share this with the county commissioners and county manager.
President, NAMI Ramsey County
Board Member, NAMI Ramsey County
Author: NAMI ramsey board member michele gran
With editing help from the NAMI Ramsey board.
A new provision to the Minnesota Civil Commitment Act is called voluntary engagement. The purpose is to allow counties to develop relationships with people with mental illnesses in order to intervene early when symptoms are appearing or reappearing instead of waiting until they are a danger to themselves or others.
In order to be eligible for engagement services, the person must be at least 18 years old, have a mental illness, and either (1) be exhibiting the signs of a serious mental illness such as hallucinations, mania, delusional thoughts, or inability to care for themselves; or (2) they have a history of failing to adhere with treatment for their mental illness that has been a key factor in the past for a hospitalization or incarceration, and the person is now showing the symptoms that may lead to hospitalization, incarceration, or court-ordered treatment.
Engagement services include assertive attempts to engage the individual in mental health treatment, engaging the person’s support network including educating them on means restriction and suicide prevention, and meeting the person’s immediate needs for food, housing, medication, income, disability verification and treatment for medical conditions.
Engagement services must consider a person’s personal preferences and can last for up to 90 days. They must be person-centered and can be provided even if someone is in jail.
Services end if the person meets the criteria for civil commitment or if the person agrees to voluntary treatment. When an individual agrees to voluntary treatment, the engagement team must facilitate the referral to an appropriate mental health provider including help obtaining insurance. Engagement staff can be county staff or through a contracted agency. They can include, but are not limited to, members of a mobile crisis teams, certified peer specialists, and homeless outreach workers.
NAMI Ramsey County wrote a letter to county commissioners in support of this new provision. You can, too!
Voluntary Engagement is voluntary for counties, which is why it’s important that you reach out to your county commissioner.
Not sure what to say to support? Check out the guide below!
Author: nami minnesota
Post & guide written by NAMI Minnesota.