What is a 5150 suspension? Involuntary mental health hospitalization explained.

What is a 5150 suspension?  Involuntary mental health hospitalization explained.  (Illustration by Aisha Yousaf)

What is a 5150 suspension? Involuntary mental health hospitalization explained. (Illustration by Aisha Yousaf)

The term “5150 hold” has been used in the media in stories of psychologically distressed people who are determined to need involuntary mental health intervention, let’s look at its origins.

The number refers to the section of the California State Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) on “Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment.” Code 5150 states that when a person, due to a mental health disorder, poses a danger to others or to themselves, they may be involuntarily held for psychiatric evaluation and crisis intervention for up to 72 hours. The determination of involuntary detention must be made by an expert, a “peace officer” or mental health professional.

(Screenshot: legislature.ca.gov)

5150 is the section number of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that allows a mentally challenged person to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric stay. The code goes into more detail on how to handle these cases. (Screenshot: legislature.ca.gov)

The period is sometimes referred to as the “observation period,” according to UCLA Health. During this time, the treatment team evaluates whether the patient meets the criteria for involuntary hospitalization. The law states that the patient must be treated “in the least restrictive setting possible” while under treatment.

The code goes into more detail, including the guidelines used to determine if someone needs such surgery, as well as the oral advice the person should receive. Patients are told they are not under criminal arrest but are being taken for examination by the mental health professions.

(Screenshot: legislature.ca.gov)

This is what people placed in 5150 custody are told when they are taken into custody in psychiatric custody. (Screenshot: legislature.ca.gov)

The law also stipulates that the care team must terminate the suspension when the patient no longer meets the criteria for involuntary hospitalization. So if a person is on hold for 72 hours, they could be released sooner. Alternatively, a 5150 can be extended to a 5250, which is a 14 day suspension. (Other states have different names for the process of dealing with people deemed to be in a mental health crisis. For example, New York has the “Mental Hygiene Act,” where people can be involuntarily brought in for treatment at a mental health facility. mental health.)

Celebrities and 5150 attendance

Bam Margera, by Donkey fame, he struggled extensively during his years in the limelight. On Sunday, after her family publicly inquired about her whereabouts, Margera, who has a history of addiction and is going through a divorce and custody battle, was located by police at Trejo’s Tacos in Los Angeles . Authorities said Margera displayed erratic speech and behavior in addition to recent suicide threats. Deemed dangerous to himself, he was transported to a mental health facility in cargo hold 5150.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 14: TV personality Bam Margera arrives for the Los Angeles premiere of

Bam Margera was placed in a 5150 hold on 4 June. (Photo: Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

This protocol has also been used on other stars. Amanda Bynes was placed in 72-hour psychiatric detention on March 20 Everything star, 36, who struggles with bipolar disorder and has been under guardianship for eight years, reportedly stopped a car and called for help. Bynes, who was naked and alone, said she was recovering from a psychotic episode. She called the police herself and was taken to a nearby police station, where a mental health crisis team determined she needed to be placed on 5150 hold. She was in the hospital for more than three weeks, so the suspension was extended or has accepted long-term treatment.

Bynes had previously been placed in involuntary psychiatric detention in 2013 after starting a fire in a stranger’s driveway. A guardianship was later established, under his parents. During that time, Bynes studied fashion design while receiving mental health treatment. Ultimately, she successfully lived on her own again and guardianship ended in early 2022. According to TMZ, her parents have no plans to reinstate guardianship. It seemed like she was doing well up until that point, so they treated the episode like an anomaly.

Kanye West was placed on an involuntary psychiatric suspension in 2016 while suffering from “temporary psychosis due to sleep deprivation and dehydration” the year the rapper was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He said his treatment was abysmal: ‘They handcuff you, drug you, put you to bed and separate you from everyone you know… When you’re in that state, you have to have someone you trust. It’s cruel and primal. to do it.”

Britney Spears was also subjected to consecutive involuntary psychiatric holds in 2008. Once, after locking herself and her baby in a closet when it was time for a custody swap, and the second time in the same month. At the time, the singer was dealing with a lot of divorce, custody battle, postpartum depression, global stardom, relentless paparazzi, and the world’s glaring eyes on her. Shortly thereafter, she was placed in guardianship which lasted 13 years.

In 2009, The OC Actress Mischa Barton has been placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold after being removed from her home. She later said she was burnt out from nonstop work at the time (she was also the target of blogger vitriol in that era), and burnout and prescription drugs contributed to the event. Between what she called “a total breakdown” and “got out of Girl interruptedshe was eventually admitted to a mental health facility for two weeks. She said it ended up being “a revelation,” explaining, “At first I was deeply hurt, and then I accepted that this was the moment I had need to be away from my family and all the pressure. I had gone through the wringer.”

They are not alone. David Hasselhoff was on psychiatric standby in 2013 and Terminator 3 actor Nick Stahl the same year. Police were called to Scott Disick’s home in 2017 about a possible 5150 and he was taken to the hospital, but was released before 72 hours. Melrose PlaceHeather Locklear of s was also placed on a 5150 outlet in 2018.

Going even further back, the delay Superman actress Margot Kidder also underwent a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation in 1996, long before any modern discussion of mental health. Kidder had been found, three days after he disappeared, living in a cardboard box in someone’s backyard in Glendale, California. Kidder, who had bipolar disorder, became a leading mental health advocate. She committed suicide in 2018. The same year, Bad guys Actor Martin Lawrence was screaming and disoriented on a crowded Los Angeles street with a loaded gun in his pocket when the police were called and he was rushed to the hospital. His rep said he was exhausted and dehydrated, and two days later he was back on set. He’s been treated for depression, he said.

The term “5150” started appearing a lot in the entertainment news in the 2000s, dating back to Spears’ struggles, and has been absorbed into the celebrity lexicon. However, much earlier, Van Halen named an album 5150 after the code in 1986. It was also the name of Eddie Van Halen’s recording studio. His producer Donn Landee reportedly came up with the name after hearing 5150 on a police scanner, and he and Van Halen jokingly called themselves the “5150.” According to Dictionary.com and Urban Dictionary, 5150 has been adopted as an expression for someone struggling with their mental health.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME at the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

If yours or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, call or text the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline at 800-950-6264 or call or text 988.

This story was originally published on March 2nd

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