Mental health touches the lives of many people and their friends and families. Many people who have mental illness are able to function in society without anyone except their closest family members knowing about their illness. Sometimes, an illness will manifest itself in such a way that it places the person with the illness or those around him or her in danger. Often times, friends and families are able to coax their loved one to get help voluntarily. Sometimes, they cannot. When that happens, the County Attorney is able to meet with the concerned friends and family of the person and guide them through the process of getting help for their loved one.
At the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office we recognize the concern friends and families have for their loved one and readily act with professionalism and compassion. We also balance the need to protect the person with their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure by the Government. While guiding friends and families through this process, we often hear the below frequently asked questions.
We hope this website answers many of your questions; if you need additional assistance please feel free to contact our staff.
Frequently Asked Questions
- If it is a true emergency, Call 911 immediately.
- Tell the dispatch officer what is happening and if you believe the issue is mental health or drug related.
- Be available to provide information to the responding officer or medical personnel.
- You do not have time to obtain a warrant in an emergency situation.
- If the person will voluntarily go to a mental health facility and it is safe for you to transport them, then transport them to a facility.
- You should call the facility first to make sure it can accommodate the person.
The County Attorney prepares the application to have a Mental Health Warrant issued and presents the application to the Court for consideration.
A Mental Health Warrant orders a Mental Health Constable to take a person into custody and transport the person to a designated mental health facility for evaluation.
- There is evidence that the patient is suffering from mental illness;
- There is reason to believe, and the applicant does believe, that the person is a substantial risk of serious harm to himself or others; and
- There is reason to believe, and the applicant does believe, that the risk of harm is imminent unless the person is immediately restrained.
- The beliefs must be based on detailed description of specific behavior that has occurred within the past 48 hours.
- A person may file an application for a Mental Health Warrant, if:
- He or she is over 18 years of age; and
- He or she has witnessed the proposed patient’s behavior during the preceding 48 hours.
- WARNING: It is a criminal offense to knowingly falsify any information in the Application for a Mental Health Warrant.
- A typical Applicant is the patient’s:
- Care Giver
- Social Worker
- It is always best to make an appointment prior by contacting the County Attorney’s Office at 936-539-7828. The person scheduling the appointment will usually conduct a screening interview to determine if the legal criteria to issue a warrant are met. If it appears the criteria are met, an appointment will be scheduled.
- Please arrive on time or a few minutes early to your appointment to ensure you will be seen that day. If you are late your appointment may have to be rescheduled.
- The County Attorney’s staff member will interview you to make a final determination of whether the patient meets the legal criteria for a warrant. If the County Attorney staff member believes the legal criteria are met, he or she will prepare the documents needed to file for the warrant. You will have to execute a sworn document explaining to the Court the reason the warrant is needed. This document is signed under penalty of perjury.
- Once the paperwork is completed, the County Attorney staff member will send it to the Court for review by the Judge. If the Judge finds that the legal criteria for issuing a Mental Health Warrant are met, the Judge will sign the warrant
- If the patient has insurance, you must make arrangements for the patient at one of the following local psychiatric hospitals:
- Aspire Behavioral Hospital | 936-200-6201
- Cypress Creek | 281-586-7600
- Kingwood Pines | 281-404-1001
- Intracare North | 281-893-7200
- If the patient does not have insurance or if the applicant is unsure whether the patient has insurance, the patient will be taken to Tri-County Services Psychiatric Emergency Treatment center at 706 Old Montgomery Road, Conroe, TX 77301. Their phone number is 936-538-1150.
- The County Attorney’s staff member will likely be let you know whether the Judge signed or rejected the warrant.
- If signed by the Judge, the Warrant will be sent to the Montgomery County Mental Health Constable for execution. The Mental Health Constable executing the Warrant normally calls the applicant prior to executing the warrant to find out the location of the proposed patient. Please do your best to keep you phone handy and know the location of the proposed patient. Also, restrain any loose dogs that are on the premises where the patient is located.
- The Mental Health Constable will make every effort to locate and apprehend the patient on the same day the warrant is issued.
- The Warrant only orders a Mental Health Constable to transport the patient to a mental health facility for evaluation. It is the evaluator’s decision whether to keep the patient or release the patient. In some instances, the patient is released after a few minutes.
- If the mental health facility determines that the patient meets the legal criteria and should remain at the facility involuntarily, the facility will file the necessary paperwork to involuntarily commit the patient.
- Yes. If the person is willing to go to a mental health facility the person can go voluntarily.
- If a person is in mental health crisis and meets the legal criteria, any law enforcement officer can take the person to a mental health facility for evaluation. The decision about whether the person meets legal criteria is at the sole discretion of the police officer on scene.
- Often times substance abuse manifests as psychotic symptoms. Because the symptoms usually cease once the substance’s effects wear off, patients cease meeting the legal criteria shortly after being taken to a mental health facility and are discharged.
- There is a legal procedure in place but involuntary commitment is rare due to lack of available programs.
- Adult Protective Services: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/hotlines.asp
- Tri-County Mental Health Services: http://www.tcmhmrs.org
- Tri-County Network of Care Resource site: http://montgomery.tx.networkofcare.org/mh
- Montgomery County United Way: mcuw.org