When and where are the court hearings?
All hearings, to include probable cause, final, modification, psychoactive medication, and status are held on Mondays and Thursdays beginning at 9:00 am at the El Paso Psychiatric Hospital at 4615 Alameda, El Paso, Texas 79905.
I believe my adult loved one is acutely mentally ill. How can I get them help?
If you believe that someone is, at present, likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others because of their mental illness, you may either come into the County Attorney’s Office on the 5th floor of the El Paso Courthouse, 500 E. San Antonio, or you may complete an application for Emergency Detention and submit it by fax or email. The applicant must be 18 years of age or older, must have first-hand knowledge of the person’s behavior, and state that they have reason to believe that the person evidences mental illness and because of their behavior and recent overt acts committed by them, they are in imminent harm to themselves and/or to others. The applicant must be willing to sign a notarized application.
If the person is actively attempting to commit suicide or is becoming dangerous, call 911 and ask for assistance from the police or sheriff’s office.
I am the guardian of an acutely mentally ill adult ward. How can I get them help?
A guardian has the authority to transport an adult ward to a mental health facility for the purpose of getting a preliminary evaluation. They may file an application for an ED in which they would state that they have reason to believe that the ward evidences mental illness and is in imminent danger of hurting themselves and/or others. If the person is actively attempting suicide or is becoming dangerous, call 911. While the guardian does not have the right to commit the ward for inpatient services, they should advise the probate court if the ward is detained and may be asked if they agree to the person staying in the hospital until the final hearing.
How can I get a mentally ill minor/ward admitted to a psychiatric facility?
A parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a minor may consent to the voluntary admission of the child/ward to an inpatient mental health facility. In Texas a child 16 or older may consent to admission to a hospital.
What forms hospitals need to submit to get a probable cause order?
The CME must be filled out by a physician and notarized. The application may be filled out by a non- physician. Please also provide the CA office with the Notification issued by a peace officer and the Application for ED and warrant accompanying that application, if applicable. These documents may be scanned and emailed to us or faxed. Email is preferred. If the judge approves the order a copy will be faxed to you.
What are the community resources available to help the mentally ill?
Here is a link to a non-exclusive list of resources in English and en Espanol for help.
What if a person needs treatment but still has a pending criminal case?
If an attorney has already been appointed to represent the person in the criminal case, please contact that person and work through them. You may also refer the attorney to the County Attorney’s office to try and coordinate cases. Unless the pending criminal case is for an assault- serious bodily injury, it will not prevent the civil commitment case from going forward.
How can I find out if a person is in psychiatric facility?
Much information about a mentally ill person who has a case pending is confidential and our office may not be able to release information to you, especially if the patient has told the facility to limit the release of information to certain persons. If the patient gives you their “medical ID number” you may get information directly from the facility about their treatment and verify that they are at the facility.
Is there a limit to the number of emergency detentions I can request?
The court process is available as often as the person meets criteria. You do not have a limit on how often you request help but know that the person must be in imminent harm to qualify for court intervention of this kind.
Is it allowed to present the paperwork in Spanish?
Yes we can accept your papers if they are in Spanish. All court papers will be submitted and filed in English. There will be a Spanish language interpreter at the court hearings. If you or the patient need assistance with a deaf interpreter or a foreign language interpreter for a language other than Spanish, please advise the office so that arrangements can be made in advance to have those interpreters at the court hearings.
Can the County Attorney’s Office answer my questions about the law?
Generally our staff can assist with procedural questions but are not in a position to give legal advice. They can refer your question to an attorney familiar with mental health issues who may be able to assist you further. Please know that this office represents the State of Texas in these matters and in doing so, cannot give you or the patient legal advice.
How can I request training in the involuntary mental health process for my agency?
Please fill out the attached training request form to better help us address your particular training needs.