As society has evolved over the past 50 years, so too has the understanding and treatment of people with mental conditions and disabilities. The current standards are still a far cry from the level of support and treatment these people need, especially with how much more we understand about these diagnoses and conditions. But we have also made some incredible progress from our truly sickening history of how we treated and detained people with mental disabilities or conditions even 30 years ago. 

And part of that progress is experienced and trusted psychotherapy groups like our team at Life Skills Awareness, who are educated in how to effectively support an individual with a mental condition or disability. The 5150 and 5585 codes, while instituted during a truly dark time and reasoning for people with mental disabilities, can be an effective and necessary process to implement if used by the right people. Our team has authorized writers for both 5150 and 5585 holds, and we want to provide a little bit more information on what these numbers and holds actually mean, and how our team at Life Skills Awareness can apply them to help you or your loved one.

The 5150 and 5585 Legal Holds: A Checkered History 

The 5150 legal hold is a code in the California Welfare and Institutions code, which provides a variety of legal codes that address the specific services and issues relating to welfare and the people who benefit from it, whether it’s dependent children, the elderly, those on food stamps, those going through rehab, or individuals with mental conditions or disabilities. The 5150 legal code allows “a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization.” This means that someone experiencing a severe mental episode or condition can be detained against their will for up to 72 hours, if they meet at least one of the requirements of being a danger to others, a danger to themselves, or if they are “gravely disabled” and unable to provide their own food and housing. The 5585 legal hold uses the same language but applies to minors under age 18. 

This code was instituted in 1967, and for those who are keen on the history of civil and human rights, this was during the peak of the civil rights movement for African-Americans. Unfortunately, at the same time and for decades to come, the treatment of people with mental conditions was still lacking in the human and civil rights department. Mental conditions and disabilities were not understood much at all, and the confusion regarding this led to a consistent dismissal of these people as humans with basic human rights, and they were treated as such. Psychiatric institutions were essentially unkempt prisons that took advantage of the lack of oversight and education to make their patient’s lives hell. The ruthless living conditions and horrible fates of patients created a level of suffering worthy of the horror stories and settings that old psychiatric institutions would eventually provide to modern-day ghost stories. 

And even as these horrible institutions were shut down over the years to come, there were little to no services set up to provide the patients support after the fact. This led to a massive migration of people with mental disabilities into the homeless populations, which added further stigma to those with mental conditions, as well as leading to a massive influx of people with mental conditions into our prison systems. All in all, the history of our country’s treatment of people with mental conditions by law has been truly shameful and near-predatory. So when you read the description of the 5150 and 5585 legal holds, it sounds quite antiquated and uncivil to allow a 72-hour detainment of someone against their will, especially when you think of the attitudes of lawmakers towards those with mental conditions in 1967. But in the modern-day, with compassion and trusted therapy services like the ones we offer at Life Skills Awareness, it can be a necessary and truly helpful implementation.

5150 Program with Life Skills Awareness

At Life Skills Awareness, as part evaluation facility, we have authorized 5150 and 5585 writers who can support these types of holds. The process usually involves your loved one going to the hospital, where the hospital determines medically clears them and then considers if they require an assessment. If this is determined to be needed, one of our authorized team members will come to the hospital and administer a “Crisis Assessment Evaluation for Further Assessment and Intervention”, to determine if your loved one fits the requirements for a 5150 or 5585 hold. If they do, our team will fill out a similar form that places the hold on your loved one for a period of up to 72 hours.

The important thing to note about these holds is that they are for crisis and emergency situations. When you or a loved one is experiencing a true mental health crisis, whether they have a diagnosed mental condition or not, the severe effects of any mental condition crisis on logic, reasoning, and decision making has to be respected. They are still your loved one, but in such a state, they could do things that you know your loved one would never do because they are not fully in control of their own conscious self. This could lead to potentially dangerous and unintentional situations, where they could hurt someone they care about, or hurt themselves, whether directly or through the loss of critical amenities like food, water, and shelter. 

In this case, when intervention is required to stop this, one of the most effective things that can be done is to detain them in a safe and secure environment, with trained mental health professionals who can watch over them, professionals who understand the conditions and risk. It sounds scary to detain someone you care about against their will, and for potentially a span of up to 3 days, but rest assured, our team at Life Skills Awareness will never use these holds to take advantage of, induce unnecessary control over, or cause harm to anyone who comes to our location looking for help. It’s truly a last resort, but it’s an action that could potentially save their life and the lives of others. At Life Skills Awareness in Hesperia, we are proud to have the certification and local hospital contacts necessary to provide this service. We are compassionate about serving those who need help to protect themselves, whether it’s for simpler psychotherapy services or special service programs, and we only will use a 5150/5585 as a last resort if we or the hospital thinks it’s the only way to keep them safe.

Psychotherapy Services in Hesperia – Life Skills Awareness

If your loved one is going through the 5150 processes, you may feel terrible like you couldn’t help your loved one or you are condemning them. But in reality, it’s the opposite; a 5150 hold order with the right people like our team at Life Skills Awareness can save your loved one from doing something that they have little to no control over. It preserves life, both of those around them and their own life, and while it’s a last resort if all else fails, it can be a critical step that needs to be taken in order to ensure the safety and security of your loved ones. If your loved one is nearing or in a state of mental turmoil where they are out of control and are potentially a danger to themselves or others, consider taking them to your local hospital, where they can get medically cleared our team can offer the support and services you need. Contact our office in Hesperia and see how our team at Life Skills Awareness can support a 5150 program for your loved one, and how it might be the most necessary thing for them right now.