Let me get right out in front here and say I have no official psychiatric and/or psychological training. Consequently, my assessment of whacko is more than likely not accurate. However, it serves my point…
As I’ve repeatedly point out, I work a significant amount of OT. A large portion of said OT is in the form of covering a beat. Part of my responsibility in covering a beat is responding to any number of calls for service. On occasion, a call for service may include a 5150 evaluation. I’m not going to get into the specifics of how the 5150 section reads. Let’s just operate under the assumption that if you’re 5150, you need some help I can’t provide you. For example, if you tell you boss (after you’ve been fired) you might as well kill yourself, you may very well fit the category. If you take a handful of Ambien and leave a note saying you can no longer live with the decisions you’ve made in your life, you certainly fit into the category. Basically, if you make a statement that leads an officer to believe you are a threat to yourself or others, you need to go talk to a mental health professional. Of which, I am not.
Our area Fire has contracted with an ambulance company to transport our 5150s. No worries. The trouble comes in when they give at ETA of 45 minutes. I kindly refer you back to the title of this post. In my aforementioned non-professional capacity, I may be sitting with someone who is in real danger of killing themselves if I leave. The flip side is that I may be sitting with someone who made an off-hand and admittedly f’n stupid comment out of hurt or anger and has no intention whatsoever to hurt themselves. Either way, I’m stuck with them for the duration.
Now, I’m not one for small talk with strangers anyway. So what exactly am I supposed to say to Nutty Nancy or Krazy Kevin? “So….um….how’d like that scene in Roger Rabbit about Toon Town?” Probably not. “You much of a Ken Kesey fan?” Google it…I’ll wait.
The worst is the borderline 5150 where you just get an inkling that leaving this one behind is a bad idea. Then I get to spend 45 minutes following him/her around the house while the dog is let outside, a small bag is packed, phone calls are made, etc. At least the person is doing something and not boring crazy holes into my head staring at me.