How to get mental health help in a crisis

First things first…

If you have a mental health emergency where someone is a threat to themselves or others call 911 immediately. 

Here are some invaluable tips that lay out the steps of how you should handle interacting with an emergency operator and subsequently a first responder:

These are some scripts that the Sonoma County, CA Department of Health Services provides as a public service. We found them to be a valuable outline:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also provides great information on what to do in case of a mental health crisis:

Suicide Prevention

The threat of suicide is a crisis too

If you are the loved one or caretaker of someone threatening suicide TAKE THE THREAT SERIOUSLY. Call 911 and calmly explain your situation to the dispatch operator. When first responders arrive, calmly explain the situation to them and let them do their job.

Ask the responder about the suicide watch law in your state. They differ. For instance, California has a mandatory 72-hour suicide watch period. That means the person attempting suicide will be put into a psychiatric hold for three days.  


Using the websites of the following national mental health organizations is the best way to obtain more information about mental illness and what services are available to those seeking recovery.

Mental Health Advocates In California

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