If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness (or have a loved one that has) it’s important you understand your rights. This article will help.
Mental health laws in the U.S.
In the United States, mental health laws are governed by state. In most regions there are three types of court-ordered treatment that vary by name. Here is the basic premise for each type:
The person’s rights are suspended by a law enforcement agent or a Doctor. They are placed on a temporary 72-hour hold and must enter into hospital for an assessment. They can only leave if they are deemed fit to do so by a registered Psychiatrist or Doctor.
It is often referred to as a psychiatric hold or a pick-up.
2. Inpatient civil commitment: When a judge orders a mentally ill individual to remain in hospital after the emergency hospitalization period (72 hours) it is called an inpatient civil commitment.
The person must meet that state’s legal criteria for mental illness in order to be held in hospital against their on choosing and beyond 72 hours. In all states this criteria differs.
3. Outpatient civil commitment: This is an agreement between a state and an individual allowed to live in the community. The patient must adhere to a mental health treatment plan.
There are approximately 45 states with outpatient civil commitment laws, though the standards differ.
Other names for outpatient treatment are assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), outpatient commitment or mandated outpatient treatment.
To find out about the particulars of laws in your state, click this link to visit a PDF form with state particulars: State regulations on court-ordered mental health