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What Is a 5150 Hold and What Does It Mean for Kanye?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

On Monday, Kanye West suffered what is being called a psychotic break. He had to be handcuffed to the paramedic's gurney at his personal trainer's home, then he was taken to a mental health facility for evaluation, treatment, and time to calm down. While the reason for the break is currently unknown, sources are speculating that it may relate to a common ailment many people experience: grief. West lost his mother during the month of November in 2007. Since then, every month of November has reminded him of that pain and loss.

While all of the above is rather strange, West is known for being a workaholic, and routinely binge-works for nearly 48 hours straight. His doctor explained that West was suffering from sleep depravation and dehydration. During the episode, West allegedly attacked a staff member at his personal trainer's residence/gym. West's doctor, who feared that West would attack an officer, or resist arrest, if police were called, placed him under a 5150 psychiatric hold and requested medical assistance.

What Is a 5150 Hold?

The phrase 5150 (pronounced "fifty-one fifty") has been used for sometime now across the nation to refer to the action of a doctor, mental health professional, police officer, or even a family member, involuntarily committing someone to a mental health treatment facility. The phrase originated in California as a result of section 5150 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) which allows an officer or mental health professional to involuntarily commit an individual that may be a danger to themselves or others.

Generally, when a person is placed under a psychiatric hold, it is only temporary. Depending on the type of hold, and state law, these can range anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.

Wild Wild West

Kanye West is well known for being, let's just say, a bit out there. Recently, he lashed out at Beyonce on stage, ended a concert after only 3 songs, and cancelled the remaining dates on his current music tour. The cancelling of the remaining tour dates is estimated to cause him a $10 million loss. While some sources deny that West was 5150'd, clearly there is something going on with the performer.

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