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Author: California Department of Mental Health

Finding Help in a Crisis

Finding Help in a Crisis Are you, a friend or a loved one in a crisis where help is needed immediately? To figure out if this is a crisis, answer these questions honestly: Have I, or has my friend or a loved one… Been thinking about, talking about, actively planning or attempting suicide? Been unable to manage basic self care, such as eating, bathing or dressing? Been in, or currently in, a dangerous abusive situation? If children are involved, are they in danger? Exhibited bizarre behavior, heard voices, seen things that aren’t there or expressed uncontrollable anger? abused alcohol or drugs to a degree that causes imminent danger? If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, call any of the resources listed below: Your county mental health Department. (Listed in the telephone directory under the County Government Section.) A “Crisis Intervention Service.” (Call information for the number or look under Mental Health, Health, Social Services, suicide prevention, Hospitals, or Physicians: Psychiatry) 911. A local hospital. 72-Hour Mental Health Hold If you need to get help for someone who may not want help but needs it immediately, you may need to arrange for involuntary hospitalization. This process is called a “72-hour Mental Health Hold.” Under California law, only designated personnel can place a person in 72-hour hold, often called a “515O.” They can be police officers,...

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Paying for Mental Health Care

Like all medical costs, those for mental health services have risen dramatically. You may have to spend time and effort to explore how you will pay for your care. Fees vary considerably among the professions. That doesn’t mean that the most costly treatment will necessarily be the best for you. Community mental health agencies, some private mental health professionals and some family service agencies charge fees generally based on ability to pay. Insurance. If you have health insurance, read your policy carefully and contact your carrier to find out exactly what services are covered and for how long. For...

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How Therapy Works

There are many treatment alternatives. The choice depends on your preferences and needs. Some of the alternatives are individual psychotherapy, family counseling, group counseling and self-help groups. Medication may be prescribed by a physician. hospitalization, long-term residential care, and day-treatment centers are options that might be recommended in severe cases. These alternatives are described below. Individual, Private Psychotherapy Individual therapy works through the interaction of two people – you and the mental health professional. Once you’ve selected a therapist, it is important that you work with the professional in an atmosphere of trust so that you can work together....

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How do you know when problems are overwhelming?

When do problems become too difficult for you to handle alone? When problems are overwhelming, how do you know if you need professional help? Trust Your Feelings If you feel that you need professional help, you probably do. Look For Warning Signs You probably want to consider finding help if any of these symptoms becomes frequent or lasts for several weeks. Do you (or your friend or loved one): Feel generally unhappy? Feel life is out of control? Find yourself unable to make decisions? Feel “stuck” or “trapped?” Feel very lonely? Feel anxious and don’t know why? Cry easily...

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Adolescents and Mental Health

Adolescents (12-18 years of age) are under the unique pressures of the teen years. Unusual behavior may be related to the physical and psychological changes taking place. It is important to remember that this is a time when young people are often troubled by sexual identity and concerned with physical appearance, social status, parents’ expectations and acceptance from peers. Young adults are establishing a sense of self-identity and shifting from parental dependence to independence. A parent or concerned friend may have difficulty deciding what is “normal behavior” and what may be signs of emotional or mental problems. The checklist...

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