Signs of Psychological Crisis

What is a psychological crisis?

A crisis can come in many forms. It might be an obvious crisis situation like experiencing a trauma or losing a job, or it may be more subtle but nonetheless distressing. Whatever the circumstances, a crisis can feel inescapable and hopeless. 

What a psychological crisis feels like: 

  • Can't stop the pain.
  • Can't think clearly.
  • Can't make decisions.
  • Can't seem to function.
  • Can't see any way out.
  • Can't seem to get control.

Signs of a psychological crisis:

  • Abrupt change in behavior and/or mood.
  • Neglect of personal hygiene.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Decline in performance at work or school.
  • Dramatic change in sleeping and eating patterns.
  • Withdrawal from routine activities and relationships or isolation.
  • Alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Self-injury or suicidal thoughts.

Suicide Warning Signs:

Not sure if you or a friend are at risk of suicide? Take the U LifeLine Self-Evaluator (you can take it for yourself or a friend).

If you're concerned that a friend might be at risk for suicide, you've probably noticed some changes in them recently that make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you can't put your finger on it, but "something" is different. It's okay to ask someone about depression and suicide. Asking them won't give them the idea or push them into doing it.

Answer the questions below to determine if someone you care about is at risk for suicide:

Have you heard?

  • I can't stand the pressure anymore.
  • Life isn't worth anything.
  • I won't be around to deal with that.
  • If he/she breaks up with me, I can't/won't go on.
  • There is nothing I can do to make it better.
  • My family would be better off without me.
  • I feel there is no way out.
  • It's hopeless/pointless/useless.
  • I have no reason to live.

Have you observed?

  • Loss of an important relationship.
  • Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Impulsivity or acting without thinking.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities.
  • Withdrawal from family or friends.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or desperation.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Change in hygiene, dress, activities, etc.
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead.
  • Signs of planning a suicide.

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, your loved one could be at risk. It's important to take all warnings seriously.

And remember, drug and alcohol abuse can contribute to increased risk.

The bottom line is this: If you're worried about yourself or a friend, do not hesitate to seek help.

Call CAPS 24/7 at 520-621-3334.

How to talk to someone who may be at risk for suicide:


  • Take it seriously.
  • Be willing to listen.
  • Voice your concern.
  • Let your friend know you care and understand.
  • Ask if they have a plan and how far they have gone in carrying it out.
  • Get professional help immediately. Check out the resources below.


  • Be sworn to secrecy.
  • Act shocked or surprised at what the person says.
  • Challenge or dare.
  • Assume the situation will take care of itself.
  • Argue or debate moral issues.
  • Make them feel guilty or ashamed.

Getting Help:

Whether you're in crisis yourself or are concerned about a friend, you are not alone. There are so many ways you can get help:

  • Talk to a health professional
  • Call 988
  • Go to or call a hospital emergency room
  • Contact a family member or trusted adult
  • Talk to someone in your faith community