What can I do if a loved one’s mental health is getting dangerous?

If you’re worried that a loved one’s mental health is putting them, you, or someone else in danger, you can take them to the nearest emergency department. But you should only do this if it’s safe for both of you.

If your loved one won’t go to the ER

If your loved one refuses to go to the hospital or to get help, you can ask a Justice of the Peace (JP) to sign a Form 2 – Order for Examination. A JP is like a judge.

A Form 2 order gives the police permission to take your loved one to a doctor even if they don’t want to go. A doctor will assess their mental health as soon as possible to decide if they can be released or if they need psychiatric care.

To get a JP to sign a Form 2, you must explain your loved one’s situation to them. Tell the JP why you think your loved one is a danger to themselves, you, or someone else, and show that your loved one has a .

You can also ask the JP to sign a Form 2 if your loved one’s not able to make their own health-care decisions, and their mental or physical condition has got a lot worse.

The JP considers the situation and decides whether a Form 2 is suitable. If they think it is, they sign the form which makes it an order.

If you get a Form 2 order, you must take it to the police station. The police have 7 days from the date the order was signed to use it.

Think carefully before you ask for a Form 2 order. In most cases, your loved one can find out who asked for the Form 2. And this can harm your relationship with them.

In an emergency

Before calling 911 for someone in a mental health crisis, think carefully about whether doing so is likely to make the situation better or worse. For some people in a mental health crisis dealing with people in authority, such as police officers, can make the situation worse. Sometimes it can also increase the risk of injury to the person in crisis or to others nearby.

If you decide to call 911, think about what information you can share with the 911 operator to help keep everyone safe. For example, does the person in crisis have physical or mental disabilities that make it difficult for them to move or to respond to the police? Are there other factors, such as the language the person in crisis speaks and understands, that make it difficult for them to communicate with the police?

If you decide to call 911, explain that there’s a mental health emergency. Some places have special mental health crisis response teams.

If the police believe that your loved one or someone else is in real danger, they can take your loved one to a doctor who will assess your loved one’s mental health.

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