Mental Health Emergencies

(757) 668-9247

Responding quickly and correctly to emergency mental health complaints can ensure that our children get the care they need to stay well. Outlined below is a guide on how to recognize a mental health emergency and when to request emergency assistance.


If you are concerned about an attempted overdose or attempted suicide by any means, immediately call 911.


When to Bring Your Child to the ER

Concerns of self-harm

  • Child makes statements to you or someone else about wanting to kill themselves.
  • Child posts online about wanting to kill themselves or searching self-harm topics. 
  • Child makes a to kill themselves (attempts to obtain a weapon, pills or other lethal means). 
  • Child writes a suicide note. 
  • Child gives away their favorite belongings.

Concerns of harm towards others

  • Child is increasingly violent towards you, family members, others.
  • Child makes statements, in person or online, about wanting to harm or kill others. 
  • Child destroys property. 
  • Child threatens you, family members, or others with weapons or items that can act as weapons.

Severe changes in behavior

  • Child’s thoughts and behaviors seem confusing or not based in reality. 
  • Child reports hearing or seeing things that others cannot hear or see. 
  • Child becomes overwhelmingly worried or paranoid about their surroundings or the actions of others.

If your child is experiencing any of the above, please bring them to the nearest emergency room for a mental health evaluation. If you believe the child is unsafe to escort, please call 911, which can arrange to safely transport your child.

Information to Bring to the ER

If available, bring the following to the emergency room, but only if it does not delay getting there:

  • A list of the child’s current medical and mental health medications
  • In the event of overdose, the pill bottle(s) from which the pills were taken 
  • The names and contact information for your child’s medical and mental health treatment providers 

What to Expect Upon Arrival at ER

Your child will be registered and triaged. You and your child will also meet with a medical doctor, mental health evaluator, nurses and often, medical doctor trainees. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure your child’s medical stability and to assess their safety.

The mental health evaluation will review your child’s mental health treatment history, mental health medication regiment, a history of symptoms and presenting problems. The ultimate goal of this evaluation is to ensure the child’s safety and appropriate care intervention.

If your child has a plan for harming self or others, or is acting towards harming themselves or others, it is highly likely mental health hospitalization will be recommended.

If the evaluation reveals no safety concerns, the team will assist you in creating a discharge plan. This home discharge plan will include information for outpatient mental health resources.

Practice Locations
(757) 668-9247