Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Getting person with schizophrenia Hospitalized


My brother is high functioning, he knows how to play the system and appear normal when police or doctors are in front of him. I can never get him admitted. He refuses to take his medication and his delusions are getting worse everyday because he doesn’t have the right treatment. Hes so scared all the time.

I was told about a new AOT , outpatient treatement program, but all of them request hospitalization dates or arrests.
Why does the system want mentally ill patients to get violent before they give them treatment?

Why wont they take my phone recordings/videos/textmessages into account?

How do I work the system? I need to find help for my brother asap. Why should I sit around and wait until he gets suicidal? he believes they are physically harming him, and now he has pneumonia and he wont take the antibiotics. Like how sick does he have to get for me to get him help?

I hate being helpless.


My son was just hospitalized on an involuntary hold because they felt he was sick enough that he wasn’t competent enough to make his own decisions about his health.

Maybe that would work for you as a start if you’re willing to put him in the hospital. If he’s too delusional to take meds for pneumonia that should qualify as not being able to look after his own safety.

Here, they have local community services boards that help with this kind of thing. Maybe you can have one too? If so, they will have a crisis line you can call.

I’m just learning about everything the CSB can do here, so I’m no expert, but they’ve certainly went out of their way to help my son.


I feel your pain! You are not alone!!


We live in Virginia - this is from our involuntary commitment guidelines.

that the person presents an
imminent danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness or has been proven to
be so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for himself, and

the bolded part has been used to involuntarily hospitalize my son twice.

before you go that route, know that if someone has to come to your home to evaluate him, the police will most likely have to transport him. here, that works fine because they have special officers who have been trained to work with the mentally ill. this past time, they were very patient with my son while the paperwork was being completed (about 2 hours) and even walked outside with him and chatted while he smoked. he wasn’t at home but at the local mental health center our community services board runs.

i’m still learning to work the system too.


I called the police tonight, and they said he has to be a danger to himself or others. they wouldnt even read the text message he sent me. I have no idea what its going to take to get him hospitalized in California.


California law allows police (and certain other designated mental health
professionals) to take you into custody if they believe that, due to a mental
disorder, you are:

  1. A danger to yourself, and/or
  2. A danger to others, and/or
  3. Gravely disabled. (Grave disability is defined as: “a condition in which a
    person, as a result of a mental disorder, is unable to provide for his or her
    basic personal needs for food, clothing or shelter.”)

Basically when he starts shitting in his room I can call them.


See if you have someone else other than the police to call.
They basically don’t want to be bothered from the sounds of it.

Look at your county/city government offices for a mental health support center, community services board, or crisis intervention team.

In my opinion, he is an immediate danger to himself if he is so delusional he doesn’t get that he has pneumonia and could die if he doesn’t take those antibiotics. Imminent danger does not have to mean he will harm himself.

If it was me, I’d start looking here:

I’d find my local office & either call or go in.
I’d also go talk to your local magistrate or whatever they call it there if it’s not a magistrate.
This is a court officer who handles things like setting bail when people go to jail, emergency protective orders, and approves the paperwork to have someone put on an involuntary hold and be transported to a mental facility. Everything goes in front of a judge in a day or two - but this is the person who makes the first decision. Maybe they have some advice for you?

I would be looking for more than a 72-hour hold. Both times my son has been involuntarily hospitalized, they gave the hospital up to 30 days to keep him - then, if they thought they needed more time, it has to go before the judge again.

In other words, you tried the police - now, look to see if you have some other options.

Also, if there’s a support group there for family members - go and ask for advice. They’ll definitely know ways to work the system.


Freedom 8,

Just to add what Slw wrote - in my state if a person is threatening and you personally feels threatened the police can take your loved one to the hospital and put a hold on them for one or two days (I’m not sure about the time). If this is done enough times a record is established. I’ve done this in recent months and finally her mental health care provider is listening and working with me.

Good luck to you. I’m not sure why its so difficult to get help for our children and like you wrote -----

“Why does the system want mentally ill patients to get violent before they give them treatment?”


That’s why I’m liking my state’s taking whether or not they can care for themselves and protect themselves from harm into account.

I’m new to this involuntary hospitalization route. If you had asked me a year ago if I’d ever do it, I’d have sworn up & down that I never would. However, some of the parents at the support group I go to who have done this for a long time kind of implied this is a somewhat new approach.

Twice now, he’s went in so ill he couldn’t help but tell them everything he was thinking - no thoughts about harming himself or harming anyone else, just the delusions. And, both times he hadn’t slept in days and was visibly ill to the point they were making sure he hadn’t overdosed on something.

I’ve been surprised both times at how fast the involuntary hold happened because I’ve read stories just like yours about how families - and sometimes even the patients themselves - were turned away.


Because the system is set up to wait around so the most ill people will go to jail (violence/dangerousness usually results in a criminal charge and incarceration, not hospitalization; this criteria for treatment is the world’s harshest Catch 22) or prison or die, then the system won’t have to treat them. Resources are incredibly limited.

I have been told to press charges (fake ones), drop my family member off at a homeless shelter, and leave them in jail when they go there. I begged for AOT after an involuntary hospitalization and that was not available.

The usual analogy: if cancer were treated the way mental illness is, no person would ever receive cancer treatment until the disease had reached Stage 4.

But we still have to try to get help.

Most states are much better than where I live. Which state are you in?


I’m in California, San Francisco to be exact. I do go to NAMI support groups, but i am new to them I dont have all the tools yet to help him.


The first two links are background information:

This place has phone numbers for case management:

Hopefully, the crisis team will help you file a petition. All you need is outpatient to at least get him to take medicine for pneumonia… I hope he will be alright.


I left a voicemail to the only number on that page. I already got my brother into CBT therapy with a UCSF program called PREP, he went there since January, and he did not get better. He got worse and now refuses to go to therapy or pdoc. Its been such a hard journey with him, he had three different psychiatrists in 12 months, they just treat him like a guniea pig and I have no say in the matter. I can’t change his Kaiser insurance because its through his work and he wont let me. Alot of the San Francisco services do not take Kaiser. Im just sitting here waiting for rock bottom.
PREP has been a nightmare, they told me they dont accept kaiser and wouldnt give him a in house psychiatrist so I had to continue with Kaiser. Kaiser psy was adament that PREP has to do his medication so he also refused to help until PREP took over. 8 months later PREP said ok we will give him a “nurse practitioner” but we wont be able to fill out his EDD forms. So now He is still with a Kaiser Psych who cant treat him for his symptoms because my brother refuses to tell her whats going on and acts like everything is fine. I feel like I can write a great book or movie one day with all this drama.
So hard to convince a Sz that the world is not as bad as they make it out to be, when all of this is happening.


When my son is off meds he usually relapses within a few days to weeks. If I get him to the hospital and they observe him there is no way he can not be psychotic and talking to voices. Perhaps your brother has had to hold it back and is really good at it. I don’t know but it seems like you could write all of that out and do a MIW and present it to the judge.

Be sure to document dates and behaviors that are dangerous. Leaving door open and unlocked. Punching at glass or mirrors. Violent behavior toward himself or others. Ant threat of harm or suicide. Document everything. I just keep a notebook around because when you live with it we really do tend to normalize it. I wish you the best and hope when he is on the hospital he will find a good doctor. Consider therapy with meds.


That’s all awful and par for the course.

I’m sorry you are going through this. It just breaks my heart that people who are so ill truly cannot receive medical treatment for a variety of reasons, but one of the worst, because it’s such a pointless barrier, is the insurance problems.


What is MIW?

I was told only a doctor or a police officer can ask for a conservertorship because hes 34 years old.

My brother only had one psychotic episode where he acted out. Lately all of the voices and delusions are physically hurting him. he is not violent to others.


They called back and said that they cannot offer help because of his insurance. His therapist said she will try to reach him tomorrow and possibly go to him in person. I hope that works out.


A mental inquest warrant. It can be done at any time you feel he needs to be in the hospital. Check your state’s policy on the web if you can. I printed it out and read it several times, had it on my desk for six months before I knew it was what would protect him from himself. God bless you and give you strength and discernment. Only you know your situation and what is best for you.


I cannot find any inforrmation about MIW in california, google shows it as only in indiana and kentucky. that would be a great option.


Is anyone out there on CA that can help here? It might be called something else. Check your local mental health center and see if you can get some information. Write out what the dangerous behavior and keep a notebook of when you called and who you talked with and any referrals. Did you find the books recommended by admin. They might have resources as well. Hang in there.