There is Much to Learn about Emergency Services: an Ed Talk Summary by Catherine Allen

Members of NAMI Edmond-North OKC attended a presentation by Business and Community Development Liaison for Mental Health at INTEGRIS, Sara Barry, M.ED., LBP, on December 13 at the Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Edmond.  Barry’s presentation focused on what caregivers need to do when a loved one needs emergency help for mental health issues.

Throughout Barry’s informative session, she emphasized the need for caregivers to keep loved ones safe while maintaining their dignity in emergency situations.  When loved ones will not seek help themselves, Barry advised adherence to the adage, “When in doubt, check it out.” She emphasized the need for caregivers to have a plan already worked out for which facility best fits the caregiver’s patient based on insurance, age, and condition.

Barry reminded the group that the criteria of whether the loved one “is in imminent danger to self or to others” determines the outcome of an emergency. She went on to discuss hospital emergency rooms procedures, Crisis Response Teams, Crisis Centers, availability of beds for mental health emergencies, insurance issues, partial hospitalization, Third Party Statements, and Emergency Detention. 

She recommended first trying to get the loved one to volunteer to go to an emergency room that is covered by their insurance. Her advice was that caregivers should stay with the patient unless they have to be transported to another facility because of danger to themselves or others.  According to Barry, “the more information the caregiver can provide, the better the chances of getting the best care for the patient.”

She stated, “The state of Oklahoma takes all situations seriously.” Barry went on to explain that the legal system regarding mental health emergencies is very complicated. It is made more so by insurance criteria issues.  As Barry observed, “There is much to learn.”

A question and answer period followed the presentation. Barry provided brochures and resources which included the following:

*  -  405-717-9840 

*INTEGRIS Mental Health Line: 405-951-2273 (24 hour emergency)

* Dr. Krishna’s podcasts and video series


*Apps for mental health and addiction recovery

*NAMI Noise Network

*Brochure: After an Attempt, A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member        After Treatment in the Emergency Dept (from US Dept of Health and Human Services      ( )

Erik Collins