The world is an ever-changing place that can lead to various emotional reactions including stress, anxiety, fear and depression.

Whether it's personal struggles or world events such as COVID-19, political battles, or the recent increase in violence, it's easy to slip into a pattern where you may feel emotionally overwhelmed or have trouble coping.

For many people, they don't know what to do if they or someone they know is feeling suicidal, is overwhelmed, not coping well or is in crisis.

As part of being a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, West Michigan Community Mental Health provides crisis stabilization services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When someone in Mason, Lake or Oceana counties experiences a mental health emergency, is in emotional distress or is having suicidal thoughts, they can call our 24-hour crisis stabilization hotline at (800) 992-2061.

A caring, trained mobile crisis counselor will initially provide phone triage. If needed, the crisis stabilization team, consisting of a master's level clinician and a bachelor's level provider, will respond directly to the patient's home, or anywhere in the community, to provide direct care.

"When someone is feeling overwhelmed or having thoughts about harming themselves, they or their loved ones may not know what to do," said Josh Snyder, LPC, CAADC, CCS, Chief Clinical Officer at West Michigan CMH. "The crisis stabilization service provides immediate access to mental health care to connect people with the resources they need to stay safe and return to their regular level of functioning."

By using crisis stabilization, those in distress can get direct resources without having to go to a hospital emergency room. The service can also reduce crises and reduce inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations.

During last fiscal year, the team at West Michigan CMH responded to 110 crisis situations.

A notable mobile crisis phone call came in directly from a community member at 2 a.m. on a weekend. She was experiencing several situational stressors which resulted in poor sleep, emotional distress, worry and passive suicidal ideation.

The mobile crisis team was dispatched to her home where they provided face-to-face individualized care, including crisis therapy and safety planning.

"By calling our crisis stabilization hotline, this woman was able to avoid an ER visit and likely prevented an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization," Snyder said. "If she wouldn't have called us, she would've suffered in silence."

Anyone can call the West Michigan CMH mental health mobile crisis hotline. The service is commonly used by school personnel, law enforcement officers, employers and people concerned about a family member or friend.

Our counselors provide a crisis screening and use proven de-escalation techniques to stabilize the crisis over the phone or in-person. They help patients create a safety plan, provide additional resources and referrals, and follow up to ensure the patient is using their skills to stay safe and properly cope.

Help is available on the phone or in-person. Call (800) 992-2061 if you or someone you know is suicidal, emotionally overwhelmed, having trouble coping, or is in crisis.

Alan Neushwander is the Director of Public Relations and Customer Service at West Michigan Community Mental Health. He can be reached at (231) 843-5440 or email alann@wmcmhs.org