You should always call 911 if you, or someone you know, is at risk of harm to themselves or others and needs immediate help. Ask for a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) officer.
Here are some strategies that parents have successfully used to diffuse a situation. The goal is to DE-ESCALATE. DO NOT TRY AND RESOLVE.
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Do - leave the room (unless your loved one will hurt themselves)
Do - offer food (Put it out for them or offer it verbally. )
Do - BREATH DEEPLY (no seriously - it really helps)
Do - Use "I" phrases. Try to avoid "You" phrases.
Do - Keep your voice calm.
Do - Use short sentences.
"I need to calm down. I'm going to leave the room and we can talk about this in a few minutes."
Don't threaten or try to resolve anything- This may be interpreted as a power play and increase fear or prompt assaultive behavior.
Don't shout or criticize - It will only make matters worse.
Don't squabble with other family members over "best strategies" or allocations of blame. This is no time to prove a point.
Avoid direct and continuous eye contact or touching.
Don't block the doorway.
Crisis Support for Adults
If you are not in imminent danger but need immediate crisis support call County Mental Health.
During business hours: (831) 454-4170
After hours for on-call assistance: (800) 952-2335
The Access Team (above) is available 24 hours a day for Santa Cruz County residents to assess for hospitalization in a psychiatric crisis.
For individuals not currently receiving services through County Mental Health, you can contact Santa Cruz County Psychiatric Health Facility for support, 831-600-2801.
Santa Cruz County Psychiatric Health Facility
2250 Soquel Avenue, Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Crisis Stabilization Unit: 831-600-2800
Psychiatric Health Facility: 831-600-2801
The Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center consists of 2 areas in the same building, the Crisis Stabilization Unit and the Psychiatric Health Facility.
The Crisis Stabilization Program is a short-term (less than 24 hours) crisis assessment and intervention program whose goal is to assist in a mental health crisis. If the individual would benefit from longer term, more intensive services, they will then be referred to the Psychiatric Health Facility.
The Psychiatric Health Facility is a safe, welcoming, recovery-focused place for people who are having a mental health emergency — and need intensive treatment and support.
How to Get Services: If you or an adult family member needs emergency mental health services, you can come to the program at 2250 Soquel Avenue, Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.
Crisis Support for Youth (under 18)
If you feel like your child is in danger of hurting himself or others, call 911 and ask for a CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) Officer or go to the emergency room. If law enforcement is called, let them know that you would like your child assessed at the Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center's Crisis Stabilization Unit.
The Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center does not accept volunteer admission. Your child must be on a 5150 status to be seen. This facility is for assessment only.
The Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center can accommodate one child and they can stay for up to 24 hours while being assessed. If it is determined that your child needs hospitalization, s/he will be transferred to a Pediatric Behavior Unit outside of the county. See list below.
After admission to the Crisis Stabilization Unit, a Child Crisis team from Encompass will be called. They will arrive within an hour. This team will then work with the child and family to determine the best next steps.
Behavioral Health Centers with Pediatric Units:
John Muir (Concord) - http://www.johnmuirhealth.com/services/behavioral-health-services/adolescent-behavioral-health-programs.html
Fremont Hosptial - http://www.fremonthospital.com/programs/
Saint Mary's - San Francisco - http://www.stmarysmadison.com/services/pages/psychiatry.aspx
Mills Penisula - San Mateo - http://www.mills-peninsula.org/behavioralhealth/mental_adol.html
Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Center FAQ
My Family Member has been Arrested. What do I do?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) puts together this guide to help families cope with the criminal justice system in Santa Cruz County when a family member who suffers from a mental Illness is arrested.