Hello I’m a mother of two boys that have both been diagnosed schizophrenic, my oldest s diagnosis is a tentative one as his symptoms seem to arise from drug use only. However my youngest does not use drugs and was diagnosed last year. His symptoms are much more severe. He has not been able to hold down a job and refused medication but was seeing a therapist weekly until last month when he went into psychosis. We tried bringing him to the ER but he just leaves. We even called 911 because we thought he was a danger to himself and others. They did nothing, a few hours after they left he tried to Killhomself with what he believed was a loaded gun. Thank god it was not loaded. He ended up assaulting someone and has been locked up for a month. He’s in deep psychosis in jail and is in the suicide cell where he can be watched 24 hours a day, he is refusing medication and is not speaking. I’m so worried about how long he is going without medication and in a isolated environment. I can bail him out but I’m terrified he will run and end up hurting himself or others. I need help having him committed to a hospital but I have no idea how to go about doing that. I’m barely functioning at the moment I’m not sleeping and just going through the motions at work and trying to occupy my mind as much as possible because I’m afraid if I dwell on his situation I may fall apart and be unable to help him. I have reached out to many different organizations but they all say they can not help unless he contacts them and ask for help. Any parents out there that may be familiar with Washington state laws and can offer any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Under “Advocacy” on the page, there is a drop down for state treatment laws. Chose the drop down and on the right you will see a guide that will show you the laws for the state of Washington.
Your local NAMI organization will help you with how the laws are applied in your local area.
A Joel’s Law petition is what you are looking for under WA state. Type in Joel’s Law Petition WA state, and you should be able to access the forms directly.
They can and will make something happen with your son. VOA (Volunteers of America) will have advocacy and treatment/referral services available to your son and I am surprised that no one got to him with help in the form of a referral/counseling during his admittance process in jail. VOA’s number is:
They will need to know your situation, provide as many details as you can about what is going on. As they go along they may only be able to offer support services to YOU but not to him, unless he is directly impacting you and you’re immediate safety ect. Getting a restraining order, unfortunately might be in the cards for YOUR safety but whether or not that is applicable or even available to you is entirely up to your discretion and some other legal counsel. (As in please do not take my word for it.) As you’ve already expressed a feeling that he is a risk to you, there is nothing that won’t stop a judge from helping to set that up. Actually being able to enforce that/not being fully able to help your son with that type of order in place is extremely tricky and I realize something of a last resort, that you may not be able to stomach now but may be necessary.
As things stand, they might be offering him treatment, but without a court order cannot force him to have injections or intraoral medication. That, if you will allow me to give the other side some credence, is what was probably decided aside from his persistent suicidal ideation and psychosis, SZ symptoms. If they cannot force/do not have an order to give forced treatment, isolation is the least restrictive option that also protects him and the other prisoners, as the guards and medical staff cannot force treatment unless they are ordered to.
Especially if his delusions make him a threat to others, the assessment process in most jails means he will be isolated (as unhealthy as that is) rather than risk harming or invoking the harm of other prisoners.
A further hearing for support and medically ordered treatment begins with winning some sort of Joel’s Law petition filed by you and other family members using all the physical documentation you have as well as his recent incarceration and phone calls to police.
You may also want to reach out to your Paramedics and see if they have the suicide call out information. As he was profoundly suicidal, I am assuming that you called AFTER he tried to kill himself, not during. If they had been present at that time (paramedics and Police) they would have had immediate grounds for hospitalization and evaluation. While I’ve never seen (or known) of a Joel’s Law petition filed while the person is in jail did anything, it’s worth it to try and bring the case before a judge so they are at least aware of it.
Also, DCR (Direct Crisis Response) team can come out. They are an addendum of county mental health services and the state DHS who directly determine if/when mental health treatment is necessary. They will need to know his location and whether or not he has weapons, ect when you make the call out (assuming he does eventually get out of jail. If you can talk to someone on the line, they will be able to advise you further while he is still in jail.) I.e making an immediate assessment and getting him into treatment/counseling and mandated follow up with a health care provider, just so long as they are aware of where he is.