Resources if Faces with a Suicide or Mental Health Crisis
Earlier this summer I attended a very informative talk entitled “Navigating the Mental Health Crisis” by my Estate Planning section of the Arizona Bar. I’m sharing a few important points from this incredibly informative talk by attorney, Josh Mozell.
Anyone with a teenager or a young adult in their family knows that there is a real mental health crisis going on in the United States. My family has been touched by a suicide in middle school and then again in high school in recent years. It is with this sad truth that I am sharing some resources and information that they might be helpful to others.
If there is a mental health disturbance, a good place to start is the Crisis Response Network (602.222.9444). This is Maricopa County’s 24-hour a day mental health service and it is considered one of the best in the nation. They have highly qualified specialists that can talk a person down, provide resources, or send out a mobile team (a team of two clinicians). In Tucson/southern AZ their number is 520-622-6000 and in Northern AZ it is 1-877-756-4090.
However, if the disturbance is emergency in nature, it is likely best to call police. Most police forces have been through some mental health training and can work to calm a difficult situation. Often, they will call for a mobile team as well in order to assist with the situation.
I would have thought to try to take someone to the hospital or call an ambulance, but Josh’s talk made it very clear to me why that would be one of my last choices. This decision could result in a long drawn out legal process and a lot of expense. Most hospital groups have cut out psychiatric services and are therefore not equipped for this kind of condition. Because they are not able to deal with the situation, it is passed off to the county through civil commitment. This commonly results in unneeded involuntary holds in a psychiatric hospital and then the county hospital, while court ordered evaluations under Arizona Revised Statutes 36-520 through 36-539 occur.
If you have a loved one with mental illness, it is worth creating a crisis plan now, rather than waiting until the crisis hits. The issues listed above should be considered when doing so.
I would like to be clear that I don’t practice in this area, but if anyone needed a referral, I’d recommend Josh Mozell, of Frazer, Ryan, Goldberg & Arnold, who’s passion and purpose for this area is evident.