In Case of Emergency Call 911?

When I was a young therapist in training I was taught to call 911 if a client was in danger. In other words if a client was suicidal I was trained to call the Houston Police Department. To this day I hear therapists with outgoing voicemail message like the one I had in the 2000s.

This is Christopher. You’ve reached my voicemail. Please leave a message and I’ll return your call within 24 hours. If this is an emergency or if you feel suicidal please hang up and call 911.

I had some version of that voicemail message for years without much thought. I’m rethinking it now.

What if calling 911 isn’t helpful for mental health crises? What if calling 911 for mental health crises is dangerous?

What’s a better option for us therapists? What’s a better option for our clients when they’re in crisis?