October 10th is World Mental Health Day and this year we want to put a 5150 hold on mental health stigma. Ok, that sounds cheesy, like a tagline for a 5k to raise funds for mental health but, seriously. 5150 has become slang for holding or stopping.
Surely, if you are in Generation X or a Millennial, then you definitely remember how you felt when you saw Britney Spears taken away on a gurney in 2008. That was the first time that I (shannon) had heard of a 5150 hold. It was explained on the evening news that in California, a 5150 Hold is when a person, as a result of mental illness, is a danger to others, himself or herself, or is gravely disabled.
All of a sudden, 5150 became attached to any mental health conversation. It’s as if the topic wasn’t already loaded with a ton of stigma. Now we have to worry that each time the word mental health comes up. Not to mention mental wellness, or anything similar, someone is going to bring up 5150 hold, or a mental lockdown. 5150 is also slang for someone being unstable or “crazy”. Like other mental health terms, they, unfortunately, are not considered medical in nature. It’s not like a broken arm or a heart issue.
What does 5150 Psychiatric Mental Health Hold Mean?
A lot of people think that 5150 is a number that is related to law enforcement. Many think it’s often a code that is used by police. Sure, police use it, but a 5150 is the number of the section of the Welfare and Institutions Code. It means that a person with a mental challenge can be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization. A person on a 5150 can be held in the psychiatric hospital against their will during that time.
Why are we talking about the 5150 hold?
In your life, you may have experienced, or had a loved one who has experienced behavioral health or mental health issues. Perhaps you were looking for a treatment facility. You may have run across 5150 mental health holds and decided not to go forth with seeking treatment. Please note, that even with severe mental health illnesses, or instances that cause a psychiatric hold, there are steps in place to protect your rights.
Who can see a mental health hold in my history?
Mental health rights advocates have lobbied hard through the years to make sure that mental health records are confidential. This means all information obtained in the course of your mental health services or involuntary treatment is not to be shared by anyone.
Here’s the thing- information about your mental health care may be disclosed in certain situations. It is released to law enforcement if you were involved or being investigated for a crime related to the hold. It could be released to a qualified professional providing mental health treatment. Information could be shared with a family member if they serve as your guardian.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law. It protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed. HIPAA prevents it from being released without the patient’s consent or knowledge. Patients should be able to feel secure when they are in a psychiatric facility. The information is indeed, private.
In Britney Spears’ situation, the news coverage was all over it. Outside of her home, helicopters were filming every bit of her transition into an emergency vehicle. She was in crisis, and we were gawking at it.
What if I don’t qualify for a 5150 mental health hold?
Again, mental health rights advocates work to make sure that there is a process in place. If you or someone you know is held, there is an informal hearing held at the hospital. This hearing is to determine if there is accurate cause for the person to be held. A hearing officer will determine whether or not the person is a danger to themselves. They will also evaluate the danger to someone else, or has a grave disability.
If there is no cause determined to keep the person in the hospital, the hearing officer can discharge the person. This can happen immediately. If there is a cause, the hearing officer will allow the psychiatrist to continue mental health treatment. This could be for 14 days, or longer. This is all dependent on the severity.
Reducing the mental health stigma
You may often hear things like, “Kanye was 5150’d”. Anytime someone in the limelight has a mental health issue, the media does not paint the picture in a positive light. Many in society also make fun of his/her situation. We are not very supportive of people who want to get help or openly discuss their mental health challenges.
We mentioned at the beginning of this blog post that we want to “put a 5150 hold on the mental health stigma”. Were we using 5150 in the correct form? No, we were not. However, our point is that we want to stop the stigma. Let’s stop the shame, and the embarrassment surrounding mental health, and talk about it in the open.
The different perceptions of physical and mental wellness
For some reason, our society tends to have little to no stigma about going to the doctor to mend a broken leg. There are no whispers about going to rehabilitate a torn muscle. Working on our mental health, well, that is something that is altogether different in the way it is looked upon. It is our hope that we never hide the fact that we are both a work in progress toward positive mental health.
There are no issues with us admitting that we have both struggled with our share of anxiety, grief, and depression. We also know what it means to have felt shame in admitting that. However, through much growth, therapy, and learning skills to help cope with those feelings, we no longer accept the disgrace or poor perceptions that many can place upon those who are working on their mental health.
Here, in the Arner Adventures community, we want to offer a safe space for dialog via our blog, our podcast discussions, email, or message on our social media platforms. We discuss methods that have helped us and are continuing to provide guidance toward positive mental wellness.
How can I get involved in World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to also mobilize efforts to address mental health issues around the world. The theme this year is “Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All a Global Priority.” It is an opportunity for people to come together to recognize progress in this field. It’s time to be vocal about what we need to do to ensure Mental Health & Well-Being becomes a Global Priority for all. We have put together a number of ways you can participate in World Mental Health Day, here.
Mental health resources
Mental Health Match: a website where you can go, and plug in the things you are looking for in a therapist. You choose the tools you would like to utilize in therapy. The options and the parameters exist to help match you with a therapist. Therapy is an integral part of our lives. We spread awareness of that, as well as Mental Health Match to anyone who is looking for a therapist. It is how we both found our therapists.
Scout Sobel: Scout is an author of The Emotional Entrepreneur and host of a podcast by the same name. She has also lived with bipolar disorder for the last 15 years. Scout was once unable to function in society. After finding entrepreneurship and taking radical responsibility for her emotions, she is now able to live a life of purpose. She provides a plethora of resources via all of her platforms.
The Daily Good/The Good Trade: It is a 30-second newsletter created by the folks from The Good Trade. It is delivered to your inbox daily with carefully curated playlists, recipes, articles, and job listings for sustainable companies. They also include self-care tips. It’s a positive way to start your digital day. Click HERE to sign-up for this newsletter.
MindBodyGreen: a self-help website or social media profile that specializes in positive wellness for your mind, body, or ecology wellness. It is all about inspiring you to live your best life.
Tiny Buddha: It’s a great resource if you are searching for affirmations, and posts about happiness, love, and relationships. You can also find tips for change, meaning, mindfulness, spirituality, simplicity, minimalism, and more. You can also sign-up for their positive newsletter HERE. This is also a great way to start your digital day.
Nedra Tawwab: Nedra is a boundaries expert, NYT Bestselling Author, and Relationship & Boundaries Expert. She wrote Set Boundaries, Find Peace. You can learn more about her and purchase her book HERE and sign up for Nedra Nuggets HERE.
We go more in-depth discussing many of these resources in one of our podcast episodes. You can find that here.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. Phone: 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.