> County of San Luis Obispo > Health Agency Services > Mental Health Services > Mental Health Emergency or Crisis

Mental Health Emergency or Crisis

Mental Health Emergency

A mental health emergency is a life threatening situation in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function, or is otherwise distraught and out of control.

Examples of a Mental Health Emergency include:

  • Acting on a suicide threat
  • Homicidal or threatening behavior
  • Self-injury needing immediate medical attention
  • Severely impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Highly erratic or unusual behavior that indicates very unpredictable behavior and/or an inability to care for themselves.

Suggestions for What to Do in Case of a Mental Health Emergency
Call 9-1-1, and be sure to remove yourself from any imminent danger.

Mental Health Crisis

A mental health crisis is a non-life threatening situation in which an individual is exhibiting extreme emotional disturbance or behavioral distress, considering harm to self or others, disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a compromised ability to function, or is otherwise agitated and unable to be calmed.

Examples of a Mental Health Crisis include:

  • Talking about suicide threats
  • Talking about threatening behavior
  • Self-injury, but not needing immediate medical attention
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Highly erratic or unusual behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Not taking their prescribed psychiatric medications
  • Emotionally distraught, very depressed, angry or anxious

Suggestions for What to Do in Case of a Mental Health Crisis

  1. Please call 1-800-838-1381. This SLO County emergency number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. State that you have a person in crisis.
  2. If possible, remain with the person until help arrives.