What can I do in an emergency situation if I think I am not getting the help my child needs?

Above all you must trust YOUR SENSE that the care your child is receiving is what is required to keep him or her safe and to reduce the possibility of future harm.

When you disagree with those who work with your child

If you believe that in spite of what you are being told by a professional such as a therapist, counselor, doctor, nurse or psychiatrist that you child is at risk and needs an emergency evaluation, you should and can request one yourself. Call the Riverside Emergency Crisis Line 781 769 8674 or 800 529 5077 for information about having an evaluation or bring your child to an emergency room. From Needham, Norwood Caritas or Newton Wellesley Hospitals are better staffed to respond.  If your child refuses to go, you can tell the police YOUR CONCERNS and ask them to transport your child to the emergency room.

When you talk with the emergency service provider,  be honest about your disagreement with the professionals, but clear about your concerns that need to be addressed.

When you disagree with the emergency service provider
(Never leave an emergency evaluation until you have worked out a plan that you believe will keep your child safe.)

If you clearly believe your child is not safe, and should be treated in a hospital, make your point clear and ask for reconsideration of the plan.  If this attempt to reconsider the plan does not produce a result that adequately addresses your concerns, you have the right to ask for a second opinion from a different evaluator, a psychiatrist, even if this means prolonging the time it takes to complete the evaluation.

Whether or not a second evaluation is provided, if you do not feel that you can keep your child safe, be clear about the reasons, and refuse to take him home. You are not being neglectful or breaking any law. The evaluator will need to reassess the plan. If your child needs to be in a hospital to be safe the emergency service provider is required to keep looking for a bed until one is found. The emergency room is also required to monitor your child’s safety until transferred to the needed “bed.”

Call for Help

If at all possible, have someone you know and trust accompany you in a disagreement situation. You should use this person to support you as you think through the issues and to help support you in your discussion with the professionals involved.

You may also request that you speak to the supervisor of the emergency service provider.  If the evaluation is taking place during the day, you can call a counselor or someone who works with your child to advocate for the proper care. You should also ask for the name and number of the person who reviews the evaluation plan for your insurance company. You can call them to talk about your child’s immediate needs.


Hurting yourself is NEVER
the right answer.
There are people who can help.

For immediate help call
911 or

Riverside Emergency Services

Newton Wellesley Hospital

To talk with someone call
Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Support and Help Around You