Mental Health Emergency
Call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room if you can safely get there
Santa Cruz Behavioral Health Crisis Services
Justice System Diversion Information
Summary of Santa Cruz County Mental Health Diversion briefing in September 2021. Notes on how to request a diversion from criminal sentencing for an individual with mental health conditions. Reviewed by County staff for accuracy.
Psychiatric Health Services are available at:
Crisis Stabilization Unit
2250 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
County Mental Health Access Team
Walk-in Crisis Services Available:
Monday - Friday
8 am – 5 pm.
1400 Emeline Avenue, Bldg. K.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 454-4170 or (800) 952-2335 (24-hours a day)
Second Story Respite House
Second Story is a Peer Run Respite house and an alternative to hospitalization. Ideally one should interview before a crisis. People can stay for a short time as long as they have a home to return to, are receiving Specialty Mental Health Services through Santa Cruz County and are over 18 years old.
Guidelines for Calling 9-1-1
What to do when your family member has been arrested
Santa Cruz Jail 101 Guide for Friends and Family
CLICK HERE to learn more
LEARN MORE ABOUT:
Mental Health Liaison
ASPIRE (Los Gatos)
SUICIDE PREVENTION OF THE CENTRAL COAST
24-Hour Suicide Crisis Line
Toll-free: 1-877-663-5433 (ONE LIFE)
Provides free confidential 24/7 emotional support and information to people in any type of crisis.Text “START” to 741741.
Text “START” to 741741
Hospitals with Behavior
Mobile Emergency Response Team
MERT is a Santa Cruz County Mental
Health Crisis Intervention and
Evaluation Service for residents of
Santa Cruz County regardless of
insurance coverage or lack of
MERT is currently available Monday-Friday excluding Holidays (8:30 am –
1400 Emeline Building K
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
1430 Freedom Blvd Suite F
Watsonville, CA 95076
More info about MERT Youth
Family Information Form
Fill out this Family Information Form to provide information to your loved one's mental health providers (therapist, psychiatrist, case manager), law enforcement, and/or hospital staff. Use clear, concise, short, fact-based details.
LPS Holds Chart
Release of Information Form
HIPPA requirements prevent staff from giving you any information without a Release Form signed by client. This Release of Information form will allow your loved one to authorize hospital staff and mental health providers to speak with you. They may have to sign another one when at the facility.
Portable Treatment Record
This template will help you to document your or your loved one's medical history, and to create a relapse and crisis plan.
Jail Mental Health Referral Form
CLICK HERE for the online Santa Cruz County Jail Behavioral Health Staff Referral Form
The Quality Improvement department really appreciates receiving feedback. Please let them know how they are doing. Write a letter, fill out their form, email or call.
Guidelines for Calling 9-1-1
- Be prepared: Become familiar with the guidelines on this page.
- Know to Ask for a Crisis Intervention Trained Officer (CIT): When you call 9-1-1, ask to have a CIT Officer dispatched if available as these officers are specially trained to respond to mental health emergencies.
- Fill out the Information From Family Member form: Complete the Family Form (below) ahead of time. Send one copy to their mental health provider and keep extra copies on hand to give to hospital personnel if a mental health emergency occurs. The Information from Family Member form provides hospital personnel and mental health providers with important detailed information on your family member or friend’s mental health history.
- Be prepared for a 5150 Hold: If your family member or friend is a danger to themselves or to others or is gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves, it may be necessary to place them on an involuntary hospital hold of up to 72 hours for additional help and evaluation.
- If you are able to safely drive your loved one before or during an emergency, go to the Crisis Stabilization Center (2250 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz; 831-600-2800) or call the Access Team (800) 952-2335.
- Interview with Second Story - 831-466-0967; Second Story is a Peer Run Respite house and an alternative to hospitalization. Ideally one should interview before a crisis. People can stay for a short time as long as they have a home to return to, are currently receiving Specialty Mental Health Services through Santa Cruz County and are over 18.
Before Calling 911
- Know your rights: If the individual is putting you or themselves in danger, police need to step in and help. You have the right to ask for help and your loved one has a right to receive help.
- Try to remain calm: Take a few deep breaths so you can speak as slowly and calmly as possible.
- Remove harmful items: If possible, remove any items from the immediate area that could be used as a weapon, such as fire arms, knives, tools, or baseball bats.
During the Call
- Try to make the call from a safe and quiet place where your family member or friend will not feel threatened by overhearing you.
- Tell police you are calling about a mental health emergency and request a CIT officer.
- Describe the situation in detail, such as whether your loved one is suicidal, aggressive, off their medication, or threatening someone.
- Listen carefully and answer the dispatcher’s questions so they have the information to help.
- Stay on the phone – emergency help is being dispatched. Do not hang up until you are asked to do so by the dispatcher.
What to say when calling 9-1-1
- I’m calling about a Mental Health Emergency and request a CIT Officer.
- My name is:______________________.
- I’m calling from [your location].
- I’m calling because my [family member/friend] is: ___________________.
- Describe in detail what is going on right now.
- Advise police if there is information on file with law enforcement about the person in crisis.
- Ask if it’s possible to arrive without lights or sirens.
- Are there any acts or threats of violence?
- Are there any weapons involved?
- Where is the person experiencing the emergency located?
- Has there been a suicide attempt or has the person made threats of suicide?
- The person’s mental health condition/diagnosis and mental healthcare provider
- Whether the person is intoxicated or overdosed
- Any medications the person is taking
- Whether the person is gravely disabled and unable to care for themselves
When the officer arrives
- Tell them what you’ve seen and heard—stick to the facts.
- Explain what is happening now.
- Let them know what has and has not worked in the past.
- If the person in crisis is being transported, find out where.
- Ask the police officer for their contact information for follow up.