Members of our community have expressed concern that some of the most vulnerable among us might be reluctant to reach out during this crisis for fear of law enforcement involvement (and possible information sharing with CBP/ICE ) in their mental health care. We reached out to a local aid organization to clarify the issue for us. Please feel free to pass this along if you know of anyone in need.
The only suicide threats that come to the attention of public safety personnel are ones that involve (1) a known Plan (2) that is Lethal (3) with an Accessible method (4) and a timeframe of NOW. Plan. Lethal. Access. Now. (It spells PLAN.) Suicide Prevention volunteers are trained to de-escalate these crises. If the person can not be negotiated to give up the method and or the time then transportation to an emergency room is arranged. This may be by ambulance or police depending on the community. In Berkeley and San Francisco there are Mobile Crisis services that will go to the person’s location and help on the spot with medication or family phone calls, further de-escalating the situation. Transportation to emergency rooms is, in other words, very rare, contrary to the rumor.
Our agency gets an average of 50,000 calls in a year and calls for transportation an average of 75 times in a year. All the rest are de-escalated. That is what we do.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please get help as soon as possible so that the appropriate care can be provided as soon as possible and with the minimum risk of interaction with public safety personnel.