(24 hours a day)
If unsure where to call, begin here for referrals
Pre-registration for Mental Health Substance Abuse Services in Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center
(free confidential assessments)
Explain there is a mental health emergency,
ask for CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) who are
trained to manage mental health crises
804-674-2000 State Administration Office
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
NAMI National Helpline
Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm
1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or
Psychosocial clubhouse that provides support and rehabilitation to adults with mental illness
Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health
Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
24 bed psychiatric unit, 16 for geriatric patients
Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office
NAMI Virginia (Richmond)
NAMI Coastal Virginia
Mental Health Substance Abuse Office of Consumer/Family Affairs
Provides resources and educational information
Virginia Department of Behavioral Health
State agency for mental health
Calling 911 regarding a person with a mental illness is an extremely stressful act. This step should be taken only in an emergency when you believe your life or the life of someone else is in immediate danger. If not a matter of immediate physical danger, call Virginia Beach Emergency Services at 757-385-0888. Not only do you have concern for the person about whom you are making the call, but you also want to make sure that you give law enforcement accurate information so that they will be able to respond effectively and safely. Try to control the volume of your voice. Although this is a very emotionally charged time, when you shout over the phone, it may be difficult for the 911 Operator to understand what you are saying and the information may not be accurately recieved. Try to speak as calmy and clearly as possible.
Tell the 911 Operator the Following Information
Your name and address
The person's name and your relationship with them
That the person has a mental health condition and what the diagnosis is
Any medication being used - if use has stopped, for how long
Any history of violent acting out - is there a past history of fighting with police
Do you feel threatened?
If the person hears voices
If the person fears someone
If there are any weapons in the house - If there are weapons, try to safely remove them before calling 911
What the person is doing and saying now, and where they are in the house
Request a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officer who has experience working with people who have a mental illness
When the Police Arrive
Have all the lights in the house turned on, so that all occupants can be clearly visible to the arriving officers. Have nothing in your hands if you come out of the house to meet the officers. Do not run up to the officers. They have no idea who you are and anything you may carry can possibly be interpreted as a weapon. It is essential that the officers responding to your emergency call establish a comfort zone - knowing who the person with the mental illness is, and that you, who possibly may be also agitated, are not a threat. As calmly as possible, identify yourself.
Tell the officers:
Who you are & your relationship to the person you're calling about - give their name & yours
That the person has a mental illness
What kind of mental illness it is
What medication is being taken
If medication use has stopeed and for how long
If the person is violent, delusional, or paranoid
Any history of suicide attempts
An attending psychiatrist's and/or case manager's telephone number
Officers responding to a 911 emergency call are very focused when they arrive on the scene. First, they will make the scene safe for you, the person with the mental health condition, and themselves. The more informed and at ease the officers are, the less likey that anyone will be injured or that the situation will worsen. Spend all the time that is necessary answering all of the officers' questions. Answer directly and concisely. Do not ramble. Offer any advice you deem helpful. Officers tend to tune out persons who try to tell their entire life's story. After this is done, they will usually be able to deal with you and answer any questions. Although it is difficult in times of crisis, being patient is essential.
Updated and distributed by:
The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs
Virginia Beach Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division
Original document provided by Pinella's County, Florida
Text-to-911 is part of the Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) project. It is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers (911 telecommunicators) from your mobile phone or device.
The new service will allow citizens who are deaf, hard of hearing or those who are unable to speak or that may be in a situation where it is unsafe for them to speak, a way to contact 911 to request emergency services from police, fire or emergency medical services. The most important thing to know is that texting provides very limited location information, so the location and type of emergency needs to be sent in the first text to 911 telecommunicators.
“The public’s safety is a top priority for residents and visitors in Virginia Beach. ECCS is committed to providing the most technologically advanced 911 service available,” stated Athena Plummer, director of Emergency Communications and Citizens Services. “We are pleased to be able to provide this service to those who may have physical limitations and may not be able to call us.”
As part of a larger Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) project, Virginia Beach is the first Southside Hampton Roads city to offer Text-to-911 service. They are joining their counterparts in James City County, York County and Williamsburg in being able to receive 911 text messages.
Here are a few tips and suggestions that will help citizens use the tool more efficiently and effectively if needed:
Texting should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services. Non-emergency issues should still be communicated by calling the non-emergency number, 757-385-5000.
Calling 911 is quicker, more efficient and preferred, so texting to 911 should be reserved for those who are deaf, hard of hearing, unable to speak and those who are in a situation where speaking is unsafe.
Provide the location and nature of the emergency in the first text. This will enable help to be dispatched as quickly as possible.
Do not use slang, text speak, emoticons or abbreviations. This will ensure clear and concise information is relayed to call takers.
As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
Service can be used by any text-capable cellular device and does not require a smartphone.
Texts sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911 and costs may be incurred depending on an individual’s contract with their provider.
Communications Apps like iMessage, BBM, or WhatsApp will not work with the service, only standard SMS texts.
Text to 911 is not available if you are roaming.
If texting to 911 is not available or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a bounce-back message indicating that texting 911 is not available and to place a voice call to 911.
Photos and videos cannot be sent at this time.
Texts to 911 cannot include multiple people – do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
Remember “Do NOT text and drive!”