• Immediately prepare a fax requesting that your relative be screened for placement in the mental health unit. Begin this fax with your relative’s:
o Full legal name
o Date of birth
o Booking number
• In the body of the fax include:
o His/her diagnosis
o His/her psychiatrist’s name, phone number, and address
o The medications that are prescribed for your family member by name, dosage, and time of day to be administered
o Whether a particular medication has proven to be ineffective or has dangerous and/or uncomfortable side effects
o Any history of suicide attempts/threats or other violent intentions in the recent past. Briefly describe the events and when they occurred.
o Any other urgent medical conditions that might require immediate attention, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, seizures, heart problems, etc., and medications currently prescribed for those conditions. Include his/her medical doctor’s name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. The medical information you provide is tremendously valuable in making an assessment and will help the mental health staff select the best treatment for your relative. There is a clear preference for maintaining effective current treatment. However, the Jail Mental Health staff must conduct its own assessment of your relative’s condition and may not necessarily prescribe exactly the same medications.
• IMPORTANT: Do NOT address any impending charges against your family member in this fax. Medical information only!
• Keep a copy of this fax for future reference. If your family member is transferred to a different facility, you will need to fax this information again.
• On the cover page, indicate whether your relative has provided you with a written confidentiality waiver. If your relative has not previously done so, ask that he/she be asked to sign one while in jail. The Jail Mental Health staff is prohibited by law from giving anyone information about a client’s status unless they have the client’s consent, but the staff can receive information from relatives or friends without the client’s consent.
• If the family member doesn’t have success getting medication information to the jail or suspects the inmate is not receiving the proper medication:
• NAMI Texas advises that the family member write a polite letter to the sheriff. In this letter, outline what the relative was taking, for how long, and how necessary it is for the inmate’s well-being as well as the safety and security of the jail.
• Transmit the information in a way that ensures the sheriff will see it as soon as possible upon receipt.