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Please note the important difference between a psychiatric emergency and a psychiatric crisis.  An emergency is characterized by the current risk of harm to your loved one and/or others and requires immediate physical intervention by PERT, Police/Sheriff personnel, and/or EMTs.  If your loved one is experiencing a psychiatric emergency, call 911 immediately.  Do not contact Joseph or other service providers first or instead.  A crisis is distressing, seems unsustainable, and might, if unaddressed, eventually lead to an emergency, however it does not carry the current, clear risk of harm.  For the health and safety of all involved, only call Joseph if your loved one is in crisis -- not if they are experiencing a psychiatric emergency -- and only in conjunction with your ongoing attempts to secure intervention by PERT and/or at an emergency department or walk-in clinic. 


Crisis Intervention will not be possible in all or even most cases.  It is very useful but is not required for the delivery of Joseph’s other services. 


Whether your loved one has been psychiatrically decompensated for some time or their condition has just begun to deteriorate, whether they live at home or on the streets, Joseph will attempt to engage with them and learn their perspective while conducting as thorough a psychiatric evaluation as their mental status will allow.  If it is possible to locate and evaluate them, it will be much easier to determine what level and array of treatment/service you should strive to secure for them.  The goal is to swiftly halt the erosion of your loved one’s well-being by persuading them to acquiesce to appropriate voluntary treatment and service so that involuntary measures might be avoided.  If (A) they remain unwilling or unable to accept appropriate psychiatric treatment and service voluntarily, (B) no other mental health professional has yet placed them on a 5150, and (C) Joseph determines that they meet criteria for Grave Disability, Danger to Self, or Danger to Others, any insights he gains will inform Family Action Consultation.


“You contacted the police and remained on the phone with them while trailing the bus as well as contacting hospital personnel.  Through your involvement and persistence, you were instrumental in ensuring that our conservatee was safely hospitalized and was getting his basic and treatment needs while separating him from an individual who was exploiting him.”


Ellen Schmeding, Director of Aging and Independence Services, Health and Human Services Agency, County of San Diego

You’ll know when to call. 

When your loved one’s daily life is out of control. 

When they stop caring for themselves and refuse to accept care from others, or they accept your help but require so much that your own life becomes unmanageable. 

When they’ve left home with no plan for self-care, or an unsafe plan, or an impossible plan. 

When you can no longer locate them but you know they’re not OK.

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