Emergency Mental Health Hold vs Calling the Police/Crisis Team

I’ve see several posts that say they have called the police to try to get an M1 and have their loved one taken to the hospital but end up having their loved one put in jail. So, I just want to mention this in case this would help any of you going forward. You can get an Emergency Mental Health Hold which will land your loved one in the hospital. To do this, at least here in CO, I had to call the County Attorney (never knew we had one - I got the number by going to the clerks at the court). I was able to speak to one of the attorneys (they are more available as these are emergencies). I wrote up all my notes stating what had been going on over the last few years and what was currently going on now. The attorney’s office wrote it up formally and they sent it to the court. The judge approved it. Within 24 hours I had the police come take my son to the hospital. It was a lot of work but in the end my son was in this hospital for 3 weeks then a transition home. The attorney said that sometimes the person isn’t behaving poorly enough to have this approved by the judge but I wanted to give you all this information in case you can use it.


Some states have that process. Ours does. Some states don’t.

Here, the acuity of symptoms has to be incredibly high and usually our crisis team will help with this filing, so it is free to do it here too. No private lawyer needed.

I am also an advocate of having a mental health history recorded, starting with the person’s profile, diagnosis, illness onset, current and past medications (what worked, what didn’t), manifestations of illness, hospitalizations, doctors, and anything else you can think of. I have found this very useful and give it to providers every time our son goes to the hospital or is in a new program. In fact, it may have saved his life at one point, because the hospital used it instead of releasing him. It is also critical to have if your loved on is a missing person.

In our state, the person has to be “of imminent danger to him/herself or to others”. Two people have to go to the court to fill out the request for involuntary hold or else a medical provider who has seen the person within so many hours can do it. We actually had a doctor who made a house call for that…amazing!! But the entire process can take a couple of days and I’m not certain who does the transport to an ER. And if the person does not present as dangerous to him/herself or others by the time they are seen, they will just be released.