Where do I call to get immediate help and what will happen?

If you believe that your child is at immediate risk of harm to himself and you do not think you can keep him safe CALL 911. The police and emergency responders are trained to save lives.

  1. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you believe your child is at immediate risk of harming himself; give the details that you know.
  2. Stay with your child until the police and emergency service arrive.
  3. Be clear with the emergency service what happened and the nature of your concerns.
  4. The police and emergency service will first ensure the immediate safety of the child. Their role is not to evaluate, but to determine if the child is in need of transport to the nearest emergency room where he will be evaluated.  They may ask for the name of the child’s therapist or psychiatrist. If the emergency responders determine that they should transport your child to ensure safety they will contact the emergency service for a section 12 or authorization for involuntary transport to an evaluation.

You can also call Riverside Crisis Emergency Services  781 769 8674 or 800 529 5077 24 hours a day for help about how to proceed in a critical situation. If you are in Needham and are concerned about the potential of your child harming himself and you are sure that you can safely transport your child, go to the nearest emergency room. Norwood Caritas and Newton Wellesley Hospitals are larger and better equipped to respond than Beth Israel Deaconess in Needham. If possible, have another adult with you and call the emergency room to let them know you are on the way.

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluations
  1. From Needham your child will be transported to Newton Wellesley Hospital’s emergency room. When the child arrives at the emergency room, he will first be medically cleared. Outside of Needham, transport is to the nearest emergency room with crisis evaluation capability.
  2. Your insurance has a contract with emergency evaluators; at Newton Wellesley Hospital it is the hospital’s team and at Norwood Caritas Hospital it is staff from Riverside Mental Health Center.  Some insurance companies have different providers contracted for these emergency room sites.
  3. An emergency evaluator will arrive.  Ask him to contact your child’s psychiatrist and therapist if he has one as part of the evaluation.
  4. The evaluator should speak with you and your child at length to determine the nature of the risk and the intervention needed. The evaluation service is authorized to involuntarily commit a child at risk for at least 72 hours or to ask you to sign a conditional voluntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital. The evaluator is also authorized by the insurance company to find a hospital placement and to arrange ambulance transportation to that placement. 
  5. If you do not think your child is safe to leave the hospital, do not take him with you. You can insist on a second opinion by a psychiatrist or another evaluator if the child was seen by a non-psychiatrist.  Do not leave until you really believe there is an effective plan to keep your child safe. Emergency service providers need your approval for any plan when they recommend that your child can leave the evaluation and go home with you.



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