What You Should Do If Your Loved One Is Acting Out of Control

Playing What Is a Welfare Check and When Do You Need One?

If you find yourself in a situation where a person is acting out of control, what should you do?

Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho shares responding with aggression is not going to help. In fact, she suggests backing up, speaking in a quieter and slower pace, and keeping your distance – make sure they can’t reach out and hit you.

When people start to get out of control, it’s because they are feeling very threatened, and you want to make sure that you don’t act in such a way that will agitate them further. Dr. Judy stresses to keep your physical and emotional distance.

If a person is threatening to harm themselves or others, what’s the right reaction?   

When somebody is threatening to harm themselves, you always have to take what they are saying seriously. Dr. Judy says the very first thing you should do is ask them if they want to get help. If they do want to talk to someone there are two simple solutions: 

Dr. Judy suggests that if you are very fearful for their safety, and they are not open to the above suggestions, then you should call your local law enforcement and ask for a welfare check.

When to ask for a welfare check? 

  • When you have concerns the person might be a harm to themselves.
  • If you fear they may harm specific other people they have named.
  • If they’re of grave disability, meaning they can't take care of their own daily functions.  

A welfare check will alert local authorities to send a psychiatric evaluation team who are specially trained to address this type of situation and to do a brief evaluation. The team will make an assessment of whether or not this person needs a more extensive evaluation. If extended care is needed they will transport your loved one to the nearest hospital that has a psychiatric or psychological department. If the hospital determines a mandatory evaluation is needed, they usually keep this person for three days so they can start a treatment plan and your loved one can be safe before they return home.