Can You 5150 Yourself? An Insight into Involuntary Commitment

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 1, 2023
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Mental health is critical to our lives, yet it often remains misunderstood.

One such misunderstood concept is the option of ‘self-commitment’ under section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code.

Can you 5150 yourself?

  • The short answer is no, you cannot 5150 yourself because only authorized health officials have the power to 5150.
  • However, if you feel in danger to yourself or others, you can contact a health professional who may call 5150 on your behalf.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team, with our professional background in mental health care and experience working in residential centers and counseling, is well-qualified to write about 5150 related topics. With expertise in mental health assessment and thorough, transparent research, our team provides useful overviews of complex mental health topics like the 5150 hold.

This article delves into the intricacies of this option, discussing its potential benefits, drawbacks, and implications.

Understanding Section 5150

5150 (involuntary psychiatric hold)

To begin with, let’s demystify Section 5150.

  • It’s part of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that allows a qualified police officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person suspected to have a mental disorder that makes them a danger to themselves or others.
  • The confinement, also known as a 5150 hold, lasts up to 72 hours, during which mental health professionals assess the individual’s condition and determine the next steps.

The Process of 5150 Involuntary Commitment

  • When a person is believed to pose a serious threat to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder, they can be placed on a 5150 hold.
  • A mental health professional, a peace officer, or a registered nurse can make this decision.
  • The person is then held in a mental health facility where they are evaluated and treated for up to 72 hours.

Can You Self-initiate a 5150 Hold?

Although the law does not explicitly provide for self-initiation of a 5150 hold, there are ways an individual can seek help if they feel they are a danger to themselves or others.

They can reach out to a mental health professional, a local hospital, or a peace officer who can decide. However, the decision ultimately lies in the hands of these professionals, ensuring the process is not misused or abused.

A 5150 hold is a legal action that permits a 72-hour involuntary hospitalization for individuals in mental crisis. It’s invoked when someone poses a danger to themselves or others due to a mental disorder.

For more information, here are some resources:

  1. Behavioral Health Services: Provides a detailed explanation of 5150 holds. Access here
  2. OC Health Info: Beneficial guide! Offers a guide on navigating the involuntary hold process. Includes many steps on how to prepare for a 5150 and much more. Access here
  3. Disability Rights California: Explains involuntary treatment holds under California law. Gives pertinent info on the Understanding of the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act. Access here

Pros and Cons of Self-initiated Voluntary Commitment

Voluntarily committing oneself is a significant decision with benefits and potential drawbacks.

  • On the positive side, voluntary commitment can provide immediate assistance to those in crisis, granting access to mental health professionals who can offer treatment and support. Moreover, it can serve as a preventive measure, possibly averting severe harm.
  • However, there are also potential consequences to consider. Being placed in a psychiatric facility on a 5150 hold can be stigmatizing and may negatively impact one’s personal and professional life.
  • Furthermore, it’s worth noting that once committed, the individual loses certain rights, including the freedom to leave the facility at will during the hold period.

Both Positive and Negative Outcomes Possible

In practice, the use of 5150 holds varies widely.

For instance, some individuals have used the process to access immediate help during a mental health crisis, while others have experienced it as a traumatic event.

These diverse experiences underline the importance of carefully considering the potential outcomes before deciding on voluntary commitment.

The legislation surrounding 5150 holds is complex and has certain limitations. For one, the individual must be a danger to themselves or others, a condition that can be subjective and dependent on the professional’s judgment. Additionally, the law doesn’t provide for self-initiation, which can limit access to immediate help for those who recognize their own need for intervention.

Understanding Involuntary Psychiatric Holds

Involuntary psychiatric holds, commonly known as “5150,” are legal procedures that allow medical professionals to hospitalize individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others due to mental health crises.

Here are resources to understand this further:

  1. StatPearls Publishing: Details on involuntary commitment in the US from a historical perspective. Access here
  2. OpenCounseling: Comprehensive guide on involuntary psychiatric holds. Access here
  3. OC Health Info: Explains the 5150 hold process. Access here
  4. Mental Health America: Provides information about mental health laws, including involuntary commitment. Access here
  5. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Offers a guide on navigating a mental health crisis, including information on involuntary commitment. Access here

What Makes Someone Eligible for a 5150?

Eligibility for a 5150 hold hinges on three main criteria:

  1. The person must have a mental disorder
  2. Pose a threat to themselves or others
  3. Be unwilling or unable to seek treatment voluntarily.

The final decision lies with qualified professionals such as psychiatrists or law enforcement officers based on their assessment of the individual’s condition.

2. Emergency Psychiatric Holds

Emergency psychiatric holds, also known as ‘5150,’ allow individuals to be involuntarily confined for up to 72 hours. This is reserved for situations where the person, due to a mental disorder, is deemed a danger to themselves or others or is gravely disabled.

As you can see from the Reddit comment thread above, these situations are incredibly tricky. People often lose trust in their mental and medical providers when put on an involuntary hold.

Psychiatric Commitment

Psychiatric commitment, often a 5150 hold, refers to the legal process that enables mental health professionals or law enforcement officers to involuntarily hospitalize an individual perceived as a danger to themselves or others due to a mental disorder.

Differences Between 5150 Hold and Acute Stabilization

  1. A 5150 hold is a 72-hour involuntary hospitalization for individuals posing a danger due to a mental disorder.
  2. Acute stabilization, on the other hand, refers to immediate, short-term intensive treatment provided in a hospital setting to manage severe symptoms of a mental health crisis until the individual is stable.

When to Consider a 5150 Hold

A 5150 hold may be considered when an individual’s mental health condition leads them to pose a threat to

When a crisis hits, it’s crucial to stay calm, reach out to mental health professionals, and consider all available options. If the situation is severe, invoking a 5150 hold may be necessary to ensure the safety of the individual in question.

How do I know if I should call 911?

You should call 911 if an individual is in immediate danger to themselves or others due to a mental health crisis. Signs may include threats of harm, violent behavior, or severe distress and dysfunction.

Steps to Take to Care for a Family Member Experiencing Mental Crisis

When a family member is experiencing a serious mental illness or crisis:

  1. Stay calm and ensure safety.
  2. Reach out to mental health professionals.
  3. Encourage them to seek help voluntarily.
  4. If necessary, consider invoking a 5150 hold for their protection.
  5. Provide ongoing support during recovery.

Involuntary Psychiatric Holds and Firearm Prohibitions in California

An involuntary psychiatric hold (5150) can lead to a firearm prohibition in California. Under California law, individuals detained under a 5150 hold are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for five years (in most cases).

Apart from firearm prohibitions, other mental health-related prohibitions may include restrictions on certain professional licenses, driving privileges, child custody or visitation rights, and eligibility for certain types of insurance. These vary by jurisdiction and specific circumstances.

Is a 5150 confidential?

Yes, a 5150 hold is confidential. Medical records, including any holds, remain confidential whether the individual entered the treatment facility voluntarily or involuntarily. Exceptions may occur if court involvement is necessitated.

What’s the difference between 5150 and 5250?

A 5150 hold allows for up to 72-hour involuntary hospitalization. A 5250 hold extends this to 14 days if the individual is still deemed a danger to themselves or others after 72 hours.

5250 Holds

A 5250 hold is a two-week involuntary hospitalization that follows a 5150 hold. It’s used when an individual continues to pose a threat to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder beyond the initial 72-hour period.

5150 Hold California for Minors

In California, a 5150 hold can be applied to minors considered a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder. Mental health professionals initiate the hold, which can result in up to 72 hours of involuntary hospitalization for mental health evaluation and treatment.

What is law AB 1194?

Law AB 1194 in California mandates the appointment of legal counsel in key conservatorship proceedings. It also holds non-professional conservators who abuse their position liable for civil penalties. The law aims to protect and empower individuals under conservatorship.

Navigating Through the 5150 Process

Why can’t I send and receive information about my loved one?

Due to medical privacy laws, specifically the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare providers cannot disclose patients’ information without their consent. This includes individuals under a 5150 hold. Therefore, you may be unable to send or receive information about your loved one without their permission.

How do I share information about my loved one?

You need their consent or proof of legal guardianship to share information about a loved one under a 5150 hold, such as medical records. You can then communicate with the healthcare team within the boundaries set by privacy laws like HIPAA.

What Happens After a 5150 Hold Ends?

After a 5150 hold, the individual may be released if they’re no longer considered a danger to themselves or others. Alternatively, they could voluntarily admit themselves to psychiatric care for further treatment or be placed on an extended involuntary hold if necessary.

Can You 5150 Yourself Conclusion

While you technically cannot 5150 yourself, there are avenues to seek help if you feel you’re a danger to yourself or others. While potentially lifesaving, this process is a serious measure with considerable consequences and should not be taken lightly.

As we continue to navigate the complexities of the mental health system, it’s crucial to stay informed and consider all options, such as a combination of online therapy and medication.

For further reading, check out resources about 5150 holds, the impact of a 5150, 5150 costs, visiting, public records, 5150 rules, after-release, get out of a hold, background check, self-commitment, who pays, minors, and 5150 codes.

Remember, if you need to reach a lawyer or expert for urgent questions, Just Answer’s $5 trial is a reasonable option. Our team has bought and reviewed Just Answer, and we believe this service could be helpful when navigating the complexities of the healthcare industry.

Our team welcomes your involvement in our discussions on 51/50s. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about 5150 records or if there’s a mental health software product you’d like Online Mental Health Reviews to investigate next.

If You’re In An Emergency

If you find yourself amid a crisis, it’s crucial not to delay seeking help while waiting for an online therapy session. If you feel a threat to your or others’ safety, please dial 911 immediately. If you’re contemplating self-harm, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988 – they’re available round-the-clock to lend a listening ear.

Additionally, for those struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free, confidential service at 800-662-HELP (4357). They assist in finding treatment and sharing valuable information, ensuring support is accessible 24/7, all year round.

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