A crisis occurs when an individual feels overwhelmed by events. The crisis may be precipitated by events which bring about sudden change to the person’s environment – eg, bereavement, redundancy or childbirth. It may also be linked to factors unrelated to any mental health issues such as the illness of a carer, which in turn precipitates a crisis requiring intervention. Usual coping mechanisms fail and new strategies may be tried but, if these also fail, an increasing state of anxiety and poor morale develops. Maladaptive coping strategies, such as substance abuse, deliberate self-harm or violent behavior, may also be applied. Further escalation leads to a state of decompensation in which normal psychological functioning breaks down, most commonly causing panic attacks and disabling anxiety, suicidal intent or psychosis.