Call your area crisis center or emergency service number (in most areas, 911). It’s important to let the operator/dispatcher know exactly the nature of the behavioral crisis, that is, what the person is saying and doing. Do not get off the phone until told to do so: the dispatcher will need enough information from you to know the appropriate level of response:
• Can the situation be handled by a crisis team? In areas that have these, a service called mobile response or crisis outreach can go to an individual’s home and assess the situation.
• Does an ambulance need to be dispatched?
• Is the person so out-of-control and/or dangerous that a police response needs to be added?
If the determination is that the person should go to the hospital, keep in mind that every state has specific rules around when people can be brought to an emergency room, against their will if necessary, for psychiatric evaluations. For involved friends and family this will mean giving clear histories that document the severity of the situation to the professionals who will be involved in transportation (paramedics, EMTs, crisis clinicians, and possibly police).