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Getting 5150'd: What happens during one and what to expect #IYKYK

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

gurney in a hospital

Are you a California bae having a mental crisis? Then these four numbers may seem familiar to you.


And even when you do know them, getting 5150'd can be scary, especially if it is your first time around the block.

Here is some information about it, so you know what to expect when this happens to you.

What is a 5150?

According to the WIC (Welfare Institutions Code) a 5150 is this: 5150. (a) When a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others, or to themselves, or gravely disabled, a peace officer, professional person in charge of a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment, member of the attending staff, as defined by regulation, of a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment, designated members of a mobile crisis team, or professional person designated by the county may, upon probable cause, take, or cause to be taken, the person into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention, or placement for evaluation and treatment in a facility designated by the county for evaluation and treatment and approved by the State Department of Health Care Services. The 72-hour period begins at the time when the person is first detained.

If you are experiencing an emergency it is best to call 911 and let the professionals handle the situation. You can also call your hospital if you think you're going through something.

I know for Kaiser Permanente, they have their advice nurse that recommends what's needed for a patient (ask me why :) ) and the county here in the Bay Area will recommend you to the Mental Health Urgent Care.

Once you get submitted, you'll pass through the initial intake and screenings. There you'll get asked a series of questions, sometimes a number of times during your visit. Like what happened, how you ended up here etc. You will also get your blood drawn to see if drugs are in your system. This is usually done in the ER portion of the hospital or location you get sent to.

After all of that, depending on your place of care you'll most likely get taken to your next location, typically by ambulance, where you'll go through different types of programming. Whether you get rest or go through group learning sessions, it all depends on where you go.

What I do know is that as you use this time to get better, hoping this is a positive experience for you, make sure to know that you're still you're biggest advocate throughout this whole process. Need something, ask. Be assertive. The team is there to help you get better and you know your brain and how you cope.

After discharge, give yourself some time to adjust and get back on your feet. Sometimes this can be a pretty uprooting experience, but remember the days get better. Follow any medication changes, allow your clinical team to be aware if any changes are necessary and go and live your life again with all the coping skills you've learned.

Those 72 hours will soon be a forgotten distant memory.

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