I recently came across a great article written by Drs. Alexander and Olsen who are psychiatrists in the Maricopa County Healthcare System. The article is due to be run in the print version of Arizona Republic soon but is already available on the web. (Link is below.)
Their article discusses a topic that comes up often in my interactions with patients and their families and helps to clarify the options available. While many people struggle to find access to the mental health services they desire, conversely, they note that, sometimes, the most ill often do not have the insight required to understand that they are in need of help. It can be very scary, frustrating and disheartening to watch a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker get progressively worse and refuse or avoid getting a psychiatric evaluation or treatment.
The article is written from their perspective as providers of mental health services through the largest county system in Arizona and is worth a read. Whether you have experienced a situation of looking for care for a loved-one or only seen it played out in movies, I think you will value the information that they share.
Every state has different protocols and legal procedures for getting an involuntary mental health evaluation for an individual. You may recall that actress Amanda Bynes was placed on an involuntary psych hold in California called a "5150" due to her dangerous behavior. While celebrities often get front page attention for such interventions, more commonly, less famous individuals receive care and return to their lives with no attention or notice from the community. However, without access to this type of care, those in need of help and their family and friends would have few places to turn for assistance.
The article can be read in full here.
While I hope you are never in a position of having to get a loved one a mental health evaluation, especially in a situation where they are refusing care, it's comforting to know a system is in place for these types of situations.
If you have any questions, there are additional links below.
Hope you and yours have a happy holiday and new year!