Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What to do when Crisis Emergency services won't help,

I’m flabbergasted and beside myself. I just placed a call to the local mobile crisis in my SIL area in TN. She hasn’t been on her meds in over a year, lost her job, no money, no insurance. Her delusions are rampant. She hasn’t slept in months. She has expressed to us that her heart is racing, she’s blacking out, and she’s ill.
I was literally just told that it’s “her right to have delusions” and that if she isn’t killing anyone right now or killing herself that they won’t do anything.
I can’t believe this state worker uttered those words to someone crying and begging on the phone to have someone check in on her.

I don’t know what to do. She lives in backwater mountain territory. All they said I could do was send a wellness checkup by way of the local sheriff. She isn’t gona open her door. So this is a waste of time. Meanwhile she will be withering away seeping in the voices tgat fucked her up the first time.
What do I do?
What can I do?

How frustrating. Can you try calling again if you havnt already to see if you get someone more competent? If she’s not opening the door that makes it extremely difficult. Will she open it for you when you visit ?

No she won’t let us into her house. Visits are sporadic and she just begs for money or groceries. Won’t go see a doc or an ER for her “insomnia” she has spent months crying to us about.
Sheriff did make contact with her and all they reported back is that she said she was having financial difficulties.
I called another person at the TN dept of mental illness who I talked to a few days before. She was trying to convince me to call crisis in the first place. I’m hoping she calls back with a solution.
Otherwise, I feel like I have to wait to claim a body before we can get her any help out in the mountains.

I do feel your frustration, where we live the sheriff’s department is very limited in what they can do. I’m glad the sheriff did make contact - often its all we get in some parts of our country. Sadly, the sheriff’s departments usually have a lot of experience in dealing with people suffering from brain disorders. If the sheriff’s resources and options are limited, they won’t pick them up unless its pretty extreme.

You did do what you could do. At least she came to the door for the sheriff, she has been “eyeballed”. Sometimes, its all we can get from support services. I have called for help with my son several times when he still lived with us. Each time they have said “there isn’t any law against being crazy”. My apologies for the use of the word “crazy”.

I am sorry you are going through this and especially feel terrible for your family member.

I used to walk around my town looking for my family member with a bag of food to hand to him. And that was all I could do.

I’m glad the sheriff went up there. The longer this goes on and the more contact she has with law enforcement and that you have with crisis services, the more chance there is for support for her. Though the chance is still small.

Feed her if you can afford it. Don’t give her money. Keep calling crisis workers and the sheriff whenever she seems especially symptomatic or if you haven’t heard from her for too long.

I have also been told terrible and stupid things by crisis workers. On the other hand, I have met fantastic crisis workers who were able to help or at least explain why they couldn’t without being ridiculous and negligent.

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PS—There is no right to be seriously and dangerously ill; debilitating and life-threatening symptoms are often interfered with for other illnesses. When someone is unconscious in public, someone calls 911 and they show up regardless of a person’s right to lie quietly on the ground.


@jimanda Would she go willingly to the hospital with you? If not, you could try to get an emergency mental health hold. I did that. Here (CO) I went through the Boulder County Attorney’s Office and it took 24 hours. I had been documenting all the things my son went through. You’d need documentation that your sister is not well. Some examples would be that she is not eating, is crying for help, state her delusions if you know them. Tell them you fear for her life and she has been blacking out and (falling?) . This was a free service. You would have to meet and sign an affidavit which goes in front of a judge. If the judge approves - then the police come and take her to the hospital. Good luck. I know this is a rough situation.

I know civil commitment is an option. I think her bro and sis (I’m getting married to her bro) want it to be not so traumatic. And they need to keep their relationship good with her. I may have to revisit this with them since crisis wont help. Just have to find a lawyer. One we can afford.

I am so sorry and know first hand how frustrating that is. I just told my sons therapist that we are all watching him drown with our hands tied behind our backs. Telling family there is nothing that can be done is pure craziness on top of their behavior. Where did all the common sense go in this world? How can someone who is not well be allowed to make a decision that is in their best interest, that statement alone is STUPID. My son has been to the sheriffs office at least 6 times to complain about them following him, which is not happening but his delusions. I have requested the crisis team to evaluate him on many occasions and get the same answer: If he is not in danger of hurting himself or others, there is no law against him being crazy. That is unacceptable and inhuman to treat people that way. The family and Dr.'s should have a right to get treatment for their loved ones who are not capable on their own or worse Anosognosia, when they don’t even realize they are sick. My son has lost almost 100 lbs in 6 mths, refuses to eat much at all as he thinks everyone is putting meds in his food and spraying him with it. He has become rude and disrespectful and will soon be homeless as he is impossible to live with. We are doing everything to avoid that and no one will listen or do anything unless he breaks the law, how wonderful right, then he goes to jail but they wont help him medically to keep that from happening. Jail is the last place he should be. We all need to rally together to change these crazy laws that do no help and are very unjust.

I thought about this today - I am happy for oldladyblue getting a judge to order meds for her daughter. But why can’t we get help when we the family members are having such a difficult time in our homes? Why does it take our family members “inconveniencing” someone out in the public to get some help?

My son threw a rock nearly as big as my head at me (didn’t hit me with it, it was a heavy rock, fell short by a few feet) - all I got in response from the deputy who showed up was “its not against the law to be crazy”.

At that point we had to help our son make arrangements to live somewhere else. We weren’t interested in finding out what he would have to do to us to finally get him some help. We really thought they would help at that point.

When mine was calling the sheriff constantly to report us for sexually abusing him (delusion) all they did was call me and ask me to get him to stop calling them.

Yes, pure injustice and craziness. When your son threw a rock at you, that should have been enough for them to remove him or intervene.
My son, who is unofficially adopted by me when he was 22 and is now 29 next week has no family or friends to speak of and no where else to go but the streets/homeless. He has Anosognosia and insists he is fine. He also insists there is a GPS implanted in his hear that keeps chirping (his words) and his paranoia is off the charts. His behavior is also off the charts, he has been asked/requested numerous times to not do certain things but apparently he cannot help himself so therefore it continues but is unacceptable to others to live with it. Our hearts break that he will be homeless out in the cold but his therapist assured us we have done everything in our power to help him and he might have to feel hitting rock bottom to realize he needs help. Our fear he will get himself into trouble and be back in jail, which is also his worst fear but he cannot connect the dots to keep himself from becoming homeless, etc.
I am glad your son has other options for living elsewhere.

@2frustrated - I have an idea. I am going to send you an email directly. It may not work but it’s an idea.

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My son had options because we had set him up with ssi and ssdi while he lived with us. Has your son been diagnosed - are you in the USA?

Yes in USA. His therapist has diagnosed him, he sees his psychiatrist so infrequently and never signed a release for me to know if he did ever get him a diagnosis. I am trying to encourage him to at least see a Dr. to get some disability paperwork started, but getting him to follow thru on anything is difficult. I will keep trying, thank you

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I don’t see that I got anything from you

@2frustrated I just resent another email. I wonder where the other one went. Hummm. If you don’t get it, I’ll just post here.

I so very much agree. I would do almost anything to get some justice for people who are suffering so from this illness. It is a brick wall that needs to come down asap before it’s too late. Ans I know its too late for some families but there are more that can be safe and saved!

I did get it thank you. I was advised by his therapist not to lie as he will remember that and not trust me again. These things are impossible and no win.
He was already removed from my home by his probation officer, he went to my moms, which is not far but that also is becoming impossible with his delusions and paranoia.
I just seen him and he told me he cannot stay at my moms anymore as he does not feel safe? So he may end up sleeping in his car in the freezing cold. We pray he reaches out and asks for help.
My heart is breaking. :frowning:

@2frustrated - Do you know where he is now? I’m very upset with how we are not able to get the crisis teams to help.

I feel the pain of not being able to help your loved one. It is heartbreaking. It is like an awake bad dream to not be able to help those we love.

The law protects each individual, giving rights to do as we please (even acting VERY oddly) EXCEPT if we are a hurting others, or ourselves. I work in the legal field. The “slippery slope” stops that “first step” of authorities helping someone who is NOT in danger or causing danger.

Slippery slope - Wikipedia Slippery _ slope

“A slippery slope argument … asserts that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant (usually negative) effect.”

There must be a clear danger for authorities to step in. Someone lying unconscious is obviously in danger, but what if they are just sleeping in the grass? Someone drinking in a bar is not posing a danger, but what if that person gets in a car to drive? Someone dancing nearly naked is odd, but what if it is freezing weather? Etc. It isn’t illegal to be odd, but add in active danger to self or others and the police can step in. ONLY if they SEE active danger.

The police have interacted with my daughter or I over forty plus times in 2 years. There were only 5 times they acted to detain her. Sunday, my daughter was psychotic in public, yes, not illegal. BUT this time, she was running in and out of traffic on a busy downtown street, putting herself and drivers at risk. So, she went to jail for disorderly conduct. At arraignment, I asked to speak to the judge and explained FULLY my daughter’s hallucinations/delusions. I was strong and forceful in my descriptions. It sort of shocked the audience. I didn’t sugar coat it. The result was she is court ordered onto meds and she was Baker Acted from the jail, and has now been forcibly injected with a long acting anti-psychotic. I still feel sick to my stomach. I did this to my sweet daughter. No, I did it FOR my sweet daughter. I had to empasize the dangerousness of her behavior and her failure to take meds willingly.

How many times have we been outraged at a show of force by the police? It is a delicate balancing act in civil matters. Law enforcement walks that line on a daily basis. If you want your loved one detained, they must be posing a danger, actively, to self or others. AND, you must be emphatic in insisting they are dangerous and you are scared. If the police can’t SEE it when they come, they only see ODD behavior and can’t detain.

I finally, finally, was able to ask for forced treatment and emphasize the danger in her odd behavior. This time I did it in front of a judge. I hope that it brings my daughter peace.