Wellness checks, which are sometimes referred to as welfare checks, are a service offered by your local police department. At the request of a concerned person, an officer stops at a person’s house and ensures that everything is okay.
You may request a wellness check for a loved one for several reasons. Common reasons to request one include the following:
- You simply haven’t heard from them in a while (nor has anyone else in their social circle)
- They threatened to take their own life or to harm another
- They have a history of mental illness or suicidal thoughts
- They failed to appear to work despite a history of near-perfect attendance
- They have missed important meetings/functions
While most wellness checks are requested by someone close to the person the police are checking on, there are situations where mere acquaintances or strangers will ask for a wellness check. The most common of these are cases of suspected domestic violence where someone heard (or even sometimes saw) a fight. It’s prevalent for neighbors or a fighting couple to call and ask the police to make a wellness check.
The police take wellness checks very seriously. When one is requested, an officer is sent directly to the mentioned party’s home and knocks on their door. What happens next depends on the response the knock generates.
If the person opens the door and says they are fine, the police see no visible signs of distress or injury. They leave the person’s house and report their findings.
If no one responds to the knock. The officer must assess the situation and decide the most appropriate response. In most cases, they will try to enter the home by contacting someone with keys or by breaking into it. In some cases, the police will contact the person who requested the welfare check and ask for their permission to enter the home.
If the police discover that the person is in need of either physical or mental health care, they will make sure the person gets the help they need. If the person has passed away, they will launch an investigation and determine if the person passed from natural causes, suicide, or through foul play.
In some cases, they discover that, for some reason, the person in question simply decided to cut themselves off from the rest of the world. When this happens, the police will attempt to convince the person to contact the person who requested the wellness check and let them know that they are okay.