5150 for Minors

Residential Treatment versus 5150 for Minors (5585 Involuntary Hold)

5150 for Minors also Known as a 5585 Involuntary Hold

The teen years can be exceptionally emotionally volatile for some.  Many teens are under immense burdens of stress related to academic expectations, which has been one of the factors cited in recent years for increased anxiety and depression levels among teens.  Other factors that may induce serious mental health issues among adolescents are family discord, divorce, substance abuse, bullying, physical or sexual trauma, sudden death of a loved one, and moving to a new community.

Teen suicide rates have climbed 31% for teen males and 50% for teen females since 2007, according to fresh statistics provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Along with those statistics are the spike in 5150s, which involves the involuntary hospitalization for teens in psychiatric crisis. The 5150 for minors, although absolutely necessary under certain circumstances, can be a highly stressful and inefficient option for managing a teen’s mental health issues.

Residential mental health treatment offers a more proactive option where parents can take hold of their teen’s mental health needs by anticipating a potential crisis and intervening beforehand.  The residential treatment program can provide a safe, supportive therapeutic environment where highly customized, targeted intervention can gently guide teens back to stabile mental health. In-house tutoring and coordination with school officials and parents helps teens stay engaged in their schoolwork, and experiential therapies designed with the teen in mind can foster immense psychological healing.

What is a 5150 for Minors?

When a teen’s deteriorating mental health reaches the threshold of a psychiatric emergency they may be involuntarily hospitalized via the Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5150.  A 5150, or a 5585 for a minor, can be utilized when the minor becomes “gravely disabled” or poses a danger to him or herself or others, and involves a mandatory 72-hour hold in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric wing of a general hospital.  

The 5150 option is available for citizens if there is an acute psychiatric event, such as a suicide attempt or a psychotic break, that enables the teen to be placed into a safe hospital or inpatient psychiatric setting for evaluation and stabilization.  A 5150 can be initiated by school authorities in addition to concerned family members or other significant others associated with the adolescent.

Drawbacks of the 5150 for Minors

While it is understandable why a parent or other authority figure might access the 5150 option when a teen is in crisis, many times the process to actually receive any help can be delayed by hours, and could even involve an additional transfer if the first hospital is not able to house the teen.  In California there are only 648 total hospital beds for minors, compared with 5,522 beds slated for adults. With the dramatic increase of teen mental health crises recently, there simply are not enough beds designated for teens.

Sometimes the teen is routed to a hospital that doesn’t have inpatient mental health services for teens, after waiting for hours to be seen at the E.R.  This would entail another ambulance ride to a different facility, become a time-consuming and very expensive endeavor. The process can be exhausting and frustrating for both the teen and their parents, who might then have to commute a long distance each day in order to spend time with their child while in a psychiatric hold.

Some of the Symptoms that Indicate the Need for a 5150 Psychiatric Hold

When a teen is in serious psychological distress they may begin displaying certain signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder.  Some of these signs might include:

  • Frequently mentioning suicide.  Stating things such as “I wish I were dead” or “You would be better off if I was dead.” Showing an unusual obsession about the topic of death and/or suicide
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed.  They may pull out of school sports or clubs and stop participating in things they used to enjoy
  • Makes comments about feeling hopeless or worthless. A drop in self-esteem is expressed by negative comments about themselves and a loss of interest in their appearance
  • Extreme moodiness.  Mood swings and unpredictable or impulsive behavior
  • Declining academic performance. The teen stops doing homework or studying for tests, resulting in a drop in grades
  • Self-harming behaviors, such as cutting
  • Complains of being bullied at school or on social media
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.  Isolating behaviors
  • Suddenly giving away personal items
  • Substance abuse
  • Family history of depression, suicide, or mood disorders like bipolar disorder

Why Residential Treatment is the Better Option for Teens with Mental Health Disorders

In many cases, a troubled teen will be exhibiting signs of distress in advance of an acute crisis event that might necessitate a 5150 for minors.  Teachers and friends may have additional information they might share regarding their concerns about the teen’s change in behavior and mood. When there are consistent signs that the teen is distressed it is important to have a physician and a child psychologist evaluate them. At that juncture the teen can be treated for the mood disorder through therapy and possibly medication.

If, however, the teen who is receiving outpatient therapy begins showing signs of a declining mental state, as in some of the warning signs listed above, a residential treatment environment may be the best option. These inpatient programs allow the teen to detach from the stressors that may be causing the issues, enjoying a period of time that is tranquil and safe to be able to work on the problems through targeted therapy and a revision of medications.

Residential treatment programs offer a higher level of care than outpatient therapy can, with highly trained psychiatrists creating a comprehensive treatment plan that is designed specifically for the teen’s needs.  These teen programs will also include family-oriented therapy, school tutoring services, and recreational therapies that are tailored for the teen’s interests.

BNI Treatment Centers is a Premier Residential Treatment Program for Teens

BNI Treatment Centers is located in Los Angeles, serving Southern California families, offering them a better alternative to the 5150 for minors, also known as a 5585 involuntary hold.

At BNI Treatment, your teen will receive the highest standard of care in a comfortable, inviting setting. The psychiatrist owned and operated program is dedicated to helping your teen overcome their emotional, behavioral, and psychological challenges to attain a fulfilling and promising future.  For more information about the residential program, please contact BNI today at (888) 522-1504.

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