Where to turn in a state of distress?
States of distress are emergency situations that require an immediate response. When a person is experiencing emotional distress and does not cooperate, to get help it is required to initiate intervention and prevent life-risking situations. Turn for help to the proper authorities in the community as appropriate and follow the guidelines outlined below:
Urgent Forced evaluation
The law for treating mental patients allows bringing in a person for a forced evaluation only under the following conditions:
The person is sick and as a result his judgment or ability to acknowledge reality is significantly affected.
The patient may endanger himself or others while such risk constitutes an immediate physical risk.
The patient refuses to be examined by a psychiatrist.
In addition, the district psychiatrist may order conducting a non-urgent forced evaluation of a person suffering from a mental illness, who is in psychotic state, in which he might endanger himself or others, while such risk constitutes a non-immediate physical risk, which severely affects his ability to attend to his basic needs, while he causes severe mental suffering to others or significant damage to property.
Who to turn to?
A psychiatric hospital is not authorized to send a team of to bring people in for an evaluation of hospitalization, even if this refers to patients who were previously hospitalized in the hospital. When there's a risk that the patient might exhibit violent behavior towards people around him, or cause a severe disturbances to his environment, it is required to call the police (Tel: 100). The police may arrest that person or bring him in for psychiatric evaluation (for causing obstruction or for risking the public and/or himself).
Calling the police, especially by a family member, involves many doubts and understandable emotional difficulties, but in some cases it may save lives. It is therefore recommended not to hesitate or delay.
In cases where the threat is not immediate, but still the situation calls for an evaluation of the patient by a psychiatrist, and the patient does not cooperate, please contact the office of the district psychiatrist. Such application can be made by the family physician, a social worker, or directly by relatives.
Relatives are asked to accompany their application with a fax that specifies the details of the case and explains their request for a forced psychiatric examination.
To contact the Office of the district psychiatrist - Haifa district:
Tel.: 04-8632934 Fax: 04-8632936
Request for a house call
Initially it is advised to try to convince the patient to arrive for an examination at the ER of the Maale Hacarmel Mental Health Medical Center. In cases in which the patient refuses to turn for a psychiatric evaluation, please contact your family doctor or the social worker at the community health/welfare services and ask for a house call.
A family doctor or a social worker is authorized to contact the district psychiatrist and ask for a forced psychiatric examination. When the district psychiatrist concludes that there are grounds for a forced examination, he has the authority to send a team to bring in the patient for a psychiatric evaluation.
Another option is to convince the person who refuses to be evacuated to a psychiatric hospital, to arrive to a general hospital for examination. At the general hospital there's a psychiatrist who would evaluate his state and accordingly act for his hospitalization.
The emergency room at the Maale Hacarmel Mental Health Center operates 24 hours a day. In case there is no response within the community, it is possible to call the emergency room for consultation