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Designated crisis responders (DCR)

On April 1, 2018 designated mental health professionals (DMHPs) were renamed designated crisis responders (DCRs) if they have participated in the 16-hour DCR training and are a DMHP in good standing.

This page provides resources for DMHPs/DCRs in their implementation of the Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) (RCW 71.05 and RCW 71.34).

Find designated mental health professional (DMHP) and designated crisis responder (DCR) offices in Washington.

View the DMHP/DCR contact list

Why this change?

This change is in response to House Bill (HB) 1713 (2016) integrating substance use disorders (SUDs) into the detention criteria of the ITA. You will still be able to detain individuals for mental health disorders. The criteria for detention remains the same for both mental health and substance use disorders:

  • Danger to self
  • Danger to others
  • Danger to other’s property
  • Serious harm due to being Gravely Disabled

What is a DCR authorized to do?

Determine if the person presents a harm to self/others/property, or is gravely disabled and is at imminent risk, or if there is a nonemergent risk due to a substance use disorder or mental disorder, or is in need of assisted outpatient behavioral health treatment.

The DCR will conduct an evaluation and investigation:

  • Interviewing all reasonably available family, friends, or others.

  • Interview the person after informing them of their involuntary treatment rights.

  • Consider all available less restrictive treatment options.

  • Determine if the person meets criteria for involuntary treatment.

  • If the DCR finds the person meets the criteria for involuntary treatment, the DCR will work to find an available treatment bed. 

  • If there is no available involuntary treatment bed, then the DCR will not detain the person.

  • If the person is detained and admitted to a secure withdrawal management and stabilization facility, the person will likely go to court at the end of 72 hours and the court will decide if the person meets criteria for a commitment order for up to 14 days of further treatment. During this time, the person will be introduced to substance use treatment.

  • At the time of discharge from secure withdrawal management and stabilization, the person will be referred to the appropriate level of care such as intensive outpatient or residential treatment, which may be court ordered.

Model documents and forms for DMHPs/DCRs

The following model documents are available to assist you in your work. They were written and reviewed by experienced DMHPs and attorneys active in the ITA practice, and include many features to assist both DMHPs and persons in the judicial system.

Note: You are not required to use these model documents.

It is a good practice to have new documents that will be submitted to the courts reviewed by your legal representative.

DMHP/DCR protocols 

The DMHP/DCR protocols provide guidelines on the process for administering the ITA for: