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What Does Early Intervention Look Like in Mental Health?

Seeing someone you love struggle with their mental health is not easy. It can be especially hard if that person doesn’t see their mental health as a serious issue and refuses to accept help. Early intervention is an essential element in getting your loved ones the help they need before the impacts of their mental health conditions become too serious.

When is an Intervention Needed For Mental Health Conditions?

The symptoms of mental health conditions do not follow a linear progression and can escalate into difficult situations very quickly. It is important to recognize the signs that someone may be suffering from a mental illness and take action immediately to get help.

Your loved one may be experiencing a mental health condition if:

  • Their mental health interferes with their everyday life
  • They display bizarre, out-of-character thinking
  • They engage in destructive or high-risk behaviors
  • They have hallucinations
  • They have extreme mood changes
  • They have a significant change in their self-care/ grooming behaviors
  • They experience suicidal thoughts
  • They experience delusions (strong beliefs in something despite having evidence that their belief isn’t true)

Experiencing out-of-character behavior occasionally doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one has a mental health condition. However, if they experience signs of mental health problems regularly or you notice multiple signs all at once, start talking about intervention. Early intervention can help prevent developing lifelong mental illnesses. It can also help prevent more severe mental health conditions like psychosis.

How to Recognize When to Seek Help for Yourself

Whether or not you think your symptoms are serious, you still deserve support. Even if what you are going through seems situational, it’s important to learn how to recognize the signs of a mental health condition in yourself and know when it is time to seek professional help. Your mental health challenges may differ in severity. Mild challenges may include getting anxious talking to new people or anything mildly difficult without causing disruption in your life.

You may also experience mental health challenges due to specific life circumstances like going through a breakup or the death of a loved one. These mild situations do not mean you are in urgent need of professional help, but it could help you feel better by talking with a professional, or at the very least communicating with friends and family for additional support.

If you feel you are going through a serious mental health challenge, you should take action immediately and reach out to a professional. There are many warning signs to look out for to determine if you may be experiencing a serious mental health battle.

Warning signs to look out for include:

  • Feeling extreme sadness for a long period without knowing why you feel down
  • Constantly overstressing about an event
  • Feeling empty or disconnected from your life
  • Noticeable mood shifts from euphoric highs to extreme lows that leave you feeling depressed
  • Difficulty feeling empathetic towards others' thoughts and feelings
  • Outbursts of emotions like anger, sadness, or anxiousness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harm
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Constant fatigue

If you are experiencing any symptoms that are disruptive to your life, it is time to seek help.

What Does Intervention Look Like?

There are many different types of mental health interventions, and knowing what your options are can help you better help someone dealing with mental illness.

Here are a couple types of interventions and what they look like:

Counseling Intervention

If someone is experiencing mild mental health challenges and does not feel like themselves, counseling intervention could be helpful. Counseling intervention involves reaching out to a mental health professional that can help talk through any challenges you or a loved one are experiencing.

Seeking counseling or talk therapy is a great place to start receiving mental health care. It can help determine if further care is needed, and provide resources for transitioning to inpatient care if necessary. This type of intervention is most effective if followed up with additional mental health treatment, such as continued therapy, inpatient care, or any other therapeutic practices.

Intervention for a Mental Health Crisis

A person experiencing a mental health crisis cannot always think clearly about their situation. If you suspect someone you love is in a crisis or at risk of self-harm, a mental health crisis intervention may be essential for keeping them safe. This type of intervention should focus on how to keep the person in a crisis safe and receive immediate mental health care. The purpose of this intervention is to help the person in crisis become more stable and develop a long-term plan.

This could include regular counseling, suicide prevention, or enrolling in an inpatient care program. When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, symptoms can often worsen with little warning. If you recognize signs of a serious mental health crisis, seeking immediate help is essential to keeping that individual safe. You can dial 911 if there is an immediate need for medical help. You can also call the suicide prevention hotline at 988 to speak to trained mental health experts during a crisis. To seek treatment for mental health care you can call our office any time at 888-255-9280.

Tips for Staging an Intervention

  • The support team of people involved with the intervention should consist of people who have significant relationships with the individual needing care. If you aren’t sure about how many people to include, contact your intervention specialist to get advice.
  • Timing does matter. You want to find a time where the individual is more relaxed so that you are more likely to get through to them. If the individual has substance abuse problems, try to time the intervention while they are sober. Ultimately, you want them in their best headspace if you can help it.
  • The way you talk to your loved one during an intervention is very important to have a successful intervention. You should be calm, speak positively, and speak in terms of how much you love them and care for their wellbeing. It’s best not to try to improvise in the moment while emotions might be heightened. Try writing a script ahead of time with the help of an intervention specialist. This will help you stick to a meaningful conversation and keep a calm composure.

When it comes to early intervention and seeking mental health care, it is never too early to support the ones you love. It’s best to seek help as soon as you recognize the signs that they are struggling with their mental health. When planning an intervention, make sure to reach out to mental health professionals to help you plan a successful intervention and come up with a plan for mental health care. The bottom line is don’t wait until there is a medical emergency to seek help, learn to recognize the signs of mental health conditions and be proactive in getting help in order to assure the best care for your loved ones.


It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.