For LGBTQ+ people in the UK, times are tough right now. You may find yourself feeling unable to cope, or find yourself looking after a loved one who is really struggling. I’ve put together a few tips that you can use that could help a loved one who’s experiencing an emotional crisis. I’ve written this post with a focus on helping a loved one, but you can apply these same tips to yourself if you find yourself in crisis, too.
Please note that there’s talk of self-harm and suicide below. Take caution if you think these topics might be difficult for you.
– You can help to schedule a GP appointment and try to make sure your loved one attends. If this is by phone, maybe you can make sure you’re around that day, or if it’s in the practice you should be able to chaperone them if you say it’s needed.
– You can talk with your loved one about setting up different plans for different emotions and states of being. They might need a different kind of company when they’re sad compared to when they’re angry, for example. You can also talk about what to do if self-harm behaviours get more severe. Having a plan could help to take the pressure off you having to do all kinds of caring at once, and the pressure off of your loved one in terms of knowing they can have the types of help that they need.
– Make sure there are other people that your loved one can call. I know this might be difficult, especially during lockdown, but getting other people involved for different care needs could be really helpful – it means some of the pressure is off you, and your loved one gets their needs met by safe people. For example, maybe you can agree to chat once a day, another person can agree to be there to help your loved one cook, etc.
– You or your loved one can call the LGBT Switchboard. You and/or your loved one can call, text, or email to speak to an LGBTQ+ person to talk to about anything at any time, including during a crisis. I’ve heard really good things about the service from lots of different people.
– In an emergency, there’s the Crisis Team (the Hartlepool Crisis Team number is 0300 0200 317), the emergency services, and A&E. Accessing these services can be really helpful or really rough, sometimes both. It can be necessary to call if your loved one is making plans or taking steps to end their life, if they have injuries after self-harming, if they are hurt to the point of confusion or unconsciousness, or if you think they’re unable to cope at home right now.
– This tip is for you! Make sure you’re caring for yourself as well as possible right now. Try to focus on making sure you’re eating, hydrated, resting, sleeping, and washing.
– You are always welcome to get in contact with help, whether you’re in crisis or just need a helping hand.