Mental Health Warrants
What is a Mental Health Warrant?
A Mental Health Warrant authorizes law enforcement to take a person into custody who shows symptoms of immediate and serious need for mental help for a mental illness and who also is at immediate and serious risk for harm to self or others. The warrant orders a person to undergo a mental health evaluation by a doctor to determine if hospitalization is necessary.
What are the Requirements for a Mental Health Warrant?
To get a Mental Health Warrant, you MUST be able to present current, specific information that shows the prospective patient is suffering from a mental illness and constitutes an IMMEDIATE danger to him/herself or to others.
IMPORTANT: PAST BEHAVIOR, EVEN FROM A WEEK PRIOR, IS NOT CRITERIA IF THE BEHAVIOR IS NOT CURRENTLY BEING SHOWN.
How do I file for a Mental Health Warrant?
To file an application, you must contact Carla Thames with the Montgomery County Attorney's Office at 936-539-7828 for a telephone interview. This interview will help decide whether there is enough criteria for the warrant. If the criteria has been met, an appointment will be scheduled for you at the County Attorney's Office with Ms. Walker to complete the Application for a Mental Health Warrant. YOU MUST APPEAR IN PERSON TO COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS. If you do not schedule an appointment and Ms. Walker is assisting others, you will be asked to wait (which could be up to an hour or more), or asked to return later for a scheduled appointment.
The application will be presented to a judge for signature. If the judge does not feel that there is enough evidence to support the allegations, the mental health warrant will not be issued. You will be notified if the application is denied.
Otherwise, the warrant will be issued and forwarded to the Precinct 1 Constable's office, Mental Health Division, to be served within the next twenty-four (24) hours.
Who can file for a Mental Health Warrant?
A person may file an application for a Mental Health Warrant, if:
1. He or She is over 18-years of age; and
2. He or She has witnessed the proposed patient's behavior during the preceding 24 to 48 hours.
It is a criminal offense to knowingly falsify any information in the application for a Mental Health Warrant. Therefore, only first hand information will be accepted. Any information given from one person to another is not sufficient and will not be accepted.
Is there anything I need to do before I apply for a Mental Health Warrant?
If the patient has insurance, you MUST make arrangements for the patient at one of the following local psychiatric hospitals which is covered by his/her insurance:
Cypress Creek ............................281-586-7600
Kingwood Pines ...........................281-404-1001
Aspire Behavorial Hospital.........936-200-6201
If there is no insurance, then the patient must go or be taken to Tri-County PETC for an emergency evaluation. Tri-County PETC is an out-patient facility, and the patient will only be at Tri-County MHMR long enough to be evaluated by a psychologist and a psychiatrist. DO NOT expect the patient to be detained over night for assessment.
If, after the evaluation, Tri-County finds that the person does not meet the criteria to be committed (danger to self or others), the patient will be returned home. This does not mean that they are not suffering from a mental illness; only that they cannot be committed at this time.
If Tri-County completes their evaluation and determines that the person must be hospitalized, they will start the process of sending the patient to Rusk State Hospital. This is the only option for hospitalization if that person does not have insurance.
If you are unsure about the insurance information contact Ms. Walker for an appointment to apply for a Mental Health Warrant. The patient will be evaluated by Tri-County and they can work on obtaining insurance information, if any, and arrange local hospitalization.
What do I do if there is a Mental Health Emergency?
Call 9-1-1 if the person is attempting suicide or is violent. Call the Crisis Hotline at 800-659-6994 for crisis help.
If a person is actively attempting to commit suicide or has become violent, you need to immediately call 9-1-1 so that law enforcement can respond immediately - in this instance, you do not have time to file an application for a warrant.
Can't I just Commit Someone for Mental Health Treatment?
No. Under State Law, a person can only be committed if they have been evaluated by a licensed doctor and that doctor submits a report stating that the person is mentally ill and at risk for harm to self or others.
Are there any Alternatives to Filing a Mental Health Warrant?
Yes. If the person is WILLING to seek mental health services, he/she may go to any mental health facility of his/her choosing (if insured), and admit him/herself.
If there is no insurance, then the person can contact Tri-County PETC to schedule an appointment.
Can Someone be Committed for Substance Abuse?
While Texas Law does provide for the commitment of a person with a drug or alcohol addiction, the facilities that are available to Montgomery County do not provide a rehabilitation program. A few do provide a substance abuse counseling program, but not a 90-day in-patient program.
How do I begin this process?
Just like with mental health patients, you must apply for a warrant to have a person picked up for an evaluation. Only a doctor can determine whether or not to commit a person for substance abuse treatment.
If the patient has insurance, you MUST make arrangements for the patient at one of the local psychiatric hospitals listed on this site.
If there is no insurance, then the patient must go or be taken to Tri-County MHMR for an emergency evaluation.