Q. Will you call the police on me?
A. We have called the police to intervene, but it is a very rare last resort that is discouraged as common protocol. We will only call the police if a person indicates they have intent to use a lethal plan they have access to within the next 24 hours, and after an extended period of dialogue still seem intent on attempting. We can only send services to people about whom we have enough information, usually address but in some occasions a phone number alone will suffice.
Q. Will you call Child Protective Services?
A. We are required by mandated reporting laws to call child protective services on any qualifying call content. If a minor is being physically, sexually, emotionally abused, or neglected, we will need to collect identifying information to report to CPS.
Q. Will you call 911 for a friend who I am worried about?
A. We can only call 911 on behalf of someone we’re speaking to directly. We’re happy to act as a sounding board for any callers considering calling 911 on behalf of a loved one and supply directions on how to do it safely and in the most supportive way.
Q. Under what circumstances would you call the police on me?
A. If a caller states that they are definitely going to attempt a potentially lethal act within the next 24 hours and have a clear and accessible plan, we will do everything in our power to de-escalate this suicidal intent. If there’s no change in suicidal intent after an extended conversation, we will try to locate the caller and send in-person help. When available and appropriate, we send alternate mental health support. We never call in-person services for someone who says they have suicidal thoughts and no plan, or a plan with no intention to use it.
Q. What would happen if you were to call the police on me?
A. If, after a long conversation, the caller still seems committed to attempting, we will ask them if they’d like to access in-person intervention with our help. If not, we will encourage them to call emergency services themselves. If they continue to decline and state their intent to attempt, we will try to find their location. First, we will ask the caller for their location, but we may investigate prior call records to find one if they don’t offer it. If we have a phone number for the person calling in, we can call emergency dispatch, and sometimes they can find the location based on the number, whether or not it’s landline or cell. Depending on the accuracy of the emergency personnel’s address and availability, it will take varying times for them to arrive, if at all. We always inform callers when we have contacted services unless we feel that it might prompt a physically dangerous act to one’s self or others.