Involuntary hospitalization refers to the admittance of an individual to a hospital or psychiatric care facility against his or her will.
An individual suffering from mental illness can be involuntarily hospitalized if:
- He or she presents a danger or threat of danger to self, family or others resulting from mental illness within the last 24 hours
- He or she can reasonably benefit from treatment AND
- Hospitalization is the least restrictive means of treatment presently available
Mental Health Proceedings
A person is considered “mentally ill” if he or she has serious problems with self-control, judgment or discretion in their personal affairs and social relations due to physiological, psychological or social factors.
“Danger” means actual or the threat of serious physical harm to self, family, or others. This includes any action that deprives self, family or others of the basic necessities (i.e. food, shelter, or clothing).
“Least restrictive means” indicates that the required treatment will provide a realistic opportunity to improve the mentally ill person’s level of functioning in the least confining setting possible under the circumstances.
Initiated when a qualified medical professional, police officer, County or Commonwealth Attorney, spouse, relative, friend, guardian or other interested person files a petition for involuntary hospitalization of a mentally ill individual.
- An individual subject to temporary commitment is entitled to a hearing.
- The court will determine if probable cause exists to order involuntary hospitalization.
- Officer may immediately transport an individual believed to be mentally ill that presents a threat to self, family or others to a hospital or psychiatric facility.
- Individual must be evaluated within 18 hours of detention to determine whether involuntary hospitalization is necessary.
- Initiated by an authorized staff physician or health care provider.
- Involves admitting a mentally ill individual, already present in a hospital, into a psychiatric care facility.
- The individual must not be held for longer than 72 hours.
Steps of the Involuntary Hospitalization Hearing Process
- A petition for involuntary hospitalization must be filed by a family member or other concerned individual in the District Court of the county where the person to be hospitalized lives or is present at the time of filing.
- The paperwork is presented to the District Judge and then sent to the local law enforcement agency for service. The law enforcement agency will transport the Defendant to be evaluated by a medical health professional. If said medical professional deems that Defendant needs further help then the Defendant will be held for a 72 hour hold, if not, the Defendant will be returned to his or her location.
- Notice of the involuntary hospitalization hearing must be given to the mentally ill individual and, if applicable, to the individual’s guardian, spouse, parents, nearest relative or friend, if known.
- If the Court finds probable cause to involuntarily hospitalize the mentally ill individual, the court will order the person to a facility and set a final hearing within twenty-one (21) days from the examination in the county where the individual is hospitalized.
- After the final hearing, the court can involuntarily hospitalize the individual for a period of sixty (60) to three hundred sixty (360) consecutive days from date of the court order, depending on what was requested in the petition.
- If the court finds that no probable cause exists to involuntarily hospitalize, the proceedings must be dismissed and the individual will be released.
DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM BELOW or for more information please call (270) 352-9223.