Tag Archives: mental health

How to call 911 from out of town

If you are worried about someone who lives in a different 911 service area and seems to be experiencing serious mental health symptoms such as psychosis (seeing or hearing things that others around are not experiencing), suicidal thoughts, panic, or other troubles for which you want to summon emergency responders, this is how you can reach their 911 service:

1. Using a search engine, type the name of their city, or the nearest city if they live in a small town, and the phrase “crisis line” or “mental health crisis line” and call that number. When they answer just say, “I’m out of state and I need you to send 911 to this address____.” And then you can tell that crisis line operator, in a quick sentence or two, something about the mental health symptoms and your reason for seeking emergency help.

2. Using a search engine, type the name of their city, or the nearest city if they live in a small town, and the phrase “police phone number” to get the full phone number for a desk at the police department. You might land on a page with a list of multiple police phone numbers in that city. If you don’t know which division or department to choose, just call the “headquarters” number. Headquarters is the standard word for the main police office and anyone answering the phone there will know how to dispatch help.

Here are some examples of how these searches should look:

Springfield Tennessee police phone
Several states have cities called Springfield, so this example reminds you to include the state name when the city name is not unique.

Philadelphia crisis line
You don’t have to worry about the possibility that they use the word “hotline” or “number” or something similar in their name. All of these 24-hour mental health emergency services have the phrase “crisis line” built into their site so that search engines will get callers to them.

Abilene mental health crisis
Maybe it’s a “center” or a “clinic” or some other type of facility. Don’t worry about that technicality. If you put the city name and the words mental-health-line in your search, you will find a number that you can call immediately and reach someone who can summon local first responders for the person you are worried about.

What is your supportive role?

What is your most comfortable role when helping a family member who has a mental illness? This five-question survey will help you define your supportive style.

As you respond to each question, select the answer that best represents what you truly would do in the situation, not what you think you are supposed to do.

This survey was developed by author Linda Tashbook to accompany her book, Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law: A Practical Handbook (Oxford University Press, 2019).

States Using Prisons to Replace Mental Hospitals

In a January 2019 article titled Prisons are Housing Mental Health Patients Who’ve Committed No Crimes the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal describes legal cases in which people who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment are taken to psychiatric facilities in prisons, rather than hospitals in the community, even though they have not been convicted of crimes. The article details the legal arguments that lawyers are using to fight against this practice and explains the economic and political circumstances that have led to this practice.

Although some people think that involuntary commitment is simply a medical determination, it is not. It is a legal order in which a medical assessment is primary evidence. But this legal order comes from civil court, not criminal court and it is not meant to subject patients to prison rules, prison clothing, or the other aspects of criminal punishment.

Chapter 5 of Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law: A Practical Handbook is about involuntary commitment. Chapter 12 is about the rights of people with mental illness in jails and prisons.

When you get turned down for disability

After being denied SSI or SSDI disability benefits on the initial application and then again on the Request for Reconsideration, people with psychiatric conditions have a lot riding on their OHA hearings. The OHA hearing is the first real opportunity to show how mental health symptoms affect functioning.

If the hearing doesn’t result in benefits, do not despair! The disappointing letter from the Administrative Law Judge is really an instruction manual telling you how to prove the claim the next time.

Does it say that there are certain kinds of jobs that you should be able to do? Try those jobs– exactly those jobs or as close as you can get in your community. See what happens. If one works out, good! You’ll have an income. If none of them work out, you have proof for your next hearing that you aren’t able to do those jobs.

Does it say that you didn’t demonstrate certain symptoms? If you really do have those symptoms, think about who has seen them: friends, relatives, police, business owners… and get those people to write descriptive letters for your next hearing.

Chapter 2 of Family Guide to Mental Illness and the Law has much more information about proving disability. Look for the book at your public library.

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