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Help for Families

What to do in an Emergency Situation

If a person becomes violent, gets completely out of control, or tries to commit suicide, there are several things to do:

  • In a dangerous or violent crisis, call 911 or your local police. Often the police are the best equipped, most available resource, especially when violence has occurred or when there is a strong possibility that the person may do physical injury to self or others.
  • Once the emergency situation has been brought under control, if the troubled individual is already in treatment, call his or her therapist. Putnam County also has a 24 hour crisis hotline that can be reached by calling (845) 225-1222
  • In a nonviolent crisis, contacting other resources may be the best choice. For example, if an individual hasnt eaten for a substantial period of time and has become weak and dehydrated, call his or her physician or therapist. If the person doesnt have one, get him or her to a hospital emergency room where doctors are on duty-even if you have to call an ambulance to get there.
  • You may choose to call a mental health or crisis hotline, drug hotline, suicide prevention center, or Alcoholics Anonymous chapter, if your area has such services. Their telephones are staffed around the clock. The number for Putnam County is (845) 225-1222.
  • Emergency room doctors will treat injuries resulting from violence, a suicide attempt, or a drug or alcohol overdoes. They also may be able to provide temporary help for an emotional problem, even if they are not mental health specialists. In addition, they will be able to tell you where and how to get further help.
  • If the person in crisis is a member of a church, synagogue, or temple, you may choose to call the minister, priest, or rabbi. Many members of the clergy are trained to deal with emergencies, or they can refer you to other sources of help.

Another option is to call the nearest mental health center. Mental health centers generally provide a wide range of services. Included in these are:

  1. 24-hour emergency service: available at hospitals or other mental health clinics any time of the day or night.
  2. Outpatient care: a person goes to the centers clinic for treatment that has been set up on a regular appointment basis.
  3. Inpatient service: a person stays at the hospital where care is provided.
  4. Partial hospitalization: a person might spend occasional days, nights, or weekends at the hospital center, living at home and going to work as much as possible.
  5. Consultation, education, and prevention service: assist schools, community organizations, institutions, and businesses in dealing with persons with mental illnesses and in developing programs that help in the understanding and prevention of emotional disorders.

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