Know the Signs: Mental Health Crisis
June 05, 2024

You never know when a colleague, family member, or friend might be struggling with a mental health crisis. Even if they have shown no previous signs, things can change at a moment’s notice.

Here are some common signs to look out for:

Difficulty with everyday functions/tasks

When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, they will often have trouble completing everyday tasks - things as simple as showering in the morning or brushing their hair. For work colleagues, you may see changes in their consistency and quality of work. Changes in the way that someone works can indicate a bigger issue.

Confusion and/or difficulty concentratingThey may get confused easily and not appear to be thinking logically. Someone experiencing mental health troubles has a lot on their mind and may not be able to focus easily on work.

Changes in normal habits

It is worth taking note if a friend or colleague suddenly has drastically different habits than normal. This could be related to their hygiene, their eating habits, their normal work routine, etc. Their usual patterns may change if they are going through hardship.

Noticeable mood changes

Sudden and intense mood changes can often indicate a larger issue at hand. They may be easily irritable, agitated, or angry. They could also display feelings of intense sadness and be more sensitive than normal.

Isolation and withdrawal

A person dealing with a mental health crisis will often avoid social situations and withdraw from friends. They may show no interest in participating in activities where they will have to go out and interact with others.

Fear and worrying

Be on the lookout for someone that expresses a lot of worry or fear and is constantly nervous. This may be a sign they need your help so it’s important to check in.

These are just a few of the most common signs to look for. Keep in mind that these do not always indicate a mental health crisis and that sometimes a colleague may just be going through a difficult life change. We never know what someone is going through so it is important to be alert and stay kind.

Having a conversation with the person you are concerned about is the most important step you can take. Even if it may be uncomfortable, just starting the conversation lets them know that you are a safe person to come to and it can drastically improve mental health outcomes. You can learn tools on how to engage in that conversation by taking an SJA course:

For the month of January, St. John Ambulance is offering 10% off our Mental Health and Wellness for the Workplace course. This course will help you recognize and aid a colleague dealing with mental health struggles. Register now by clicking here and use code MHWW10 at checkout to get your discount.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please visit this website for more resources and support. If you're in immediate danger or need urgent medical support, call 911.


Additional Mental health Resources 


You will find below a list of additional resources you can access across Canada. There are a variety hotlines, toolkits, and articles available across these different channels. 

Canadian Mental Health Association Help Lines 
For Mental Health Services: 1-877-303-2642
For Addiction Services: 1-866-332-2322

Suicide Hotline

Wellness Together Canada
Mental health and substance use support. Offers a variety of resources, including 24/7 free of charge counselling with a professional. You simply need access to a device and the internet.  

Kids Help Phone
24/7 support for youth. Available via phone, text, or chat. This service is for people up to the age 25, but if you call and you are over the age of 25, they will still help to connect you to resources. 
Anxiety Canada
Online reading resources & videos for adults, youth, and children. Also offers a CBT training group at a cost. 
The 211 Line
Call #211
A resource that is available 24/7 in 150 languages that will help to connect you to local resources in your community. 

Mental Health Commission of Canada
Offers a variety of resources and trainings including but not limited to mental health in the workplace, mental health first aid, mental health and the justice system, mental health, and substance use, etc. Has a great toolkit for managers as well.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan 
( A useful tool/exercise that you can use as a reminder and guide to maintain wellness, as well as something you can turn to in times of difficulty