During the early stages, a full blown mental health crisis can sometimes be averted. Often the person has ceased taking medication s/he has taken regularly. If you suspect this, try to encourage a visit to the physician. If this is not successful (and the more psychotic or depressed the person, the less likely it is to be successful) you should contact the physician by telephone or by a note dropped off at his office in order to get advice.
You must also learn to trust your intuitive feelings. If you are truly frightened, the situation calls for immediate action. Remember, your primary task is to help the patient regain control. Do nothing to further agitate the scene.
It may help you to know that the person is probably terrified by their own feelings of loss of control over thoughts and feelings. Further, any "voices" may be giving life-threatening commands. In the person's mind messages may be coming from light fixtures; the room may be filled with poisonous fumes; snakes may be crawling on the window. For those with depression a feeling of utter worthlessness and despair may overcome them.
More Answers from World Federation For Mental Health (WFMH)