They Dont Understand That An Exam Is Necessary
A secondary component of this process is that the person must have refused a voluntary examination when it was offered to them. If that is not the case, their mental illness is making it impossible for them to understand why and how an exam like this is necessary. At the same time, the person must be suffering from neglect or may cause harm to themselves or other people if they do not receive this care.
In these situations, the Baker Act may apply. The law encourages a person to receive voluntary mental health, but when that is not utilized, it is possible for family members, law enforcement, health professionals, or others to petition the circuit court for involuntary examinations. If that occurs, the following steps happen.
How Do I Put Myself In A Psych Ward
In most cases, youll need to make that decision for yourself. The laws vary by state, but usually you can only be hospitalized against your will if you present a clear and present danger to yourself or others. In other words, it has to seem like youre really going to hurt someone if you arent hospitalized.
Baker Acting Someone In Florida: Involuntary Mental Health Treatment
If your loved one is suffering from severe mental health issues and refuses to accept treatment, you might be considering utilizing The Baker Act. Watching your loved one struggle with mental health and become a danger to themselves is extremely devastating. Baker Acting someone in Florida is a confusing process, however, it is often the only option for people worried about their loved ones.
At CWC Recovery, we understand the complex nature of mental health, allowing us to provide effective mental health treatment and promote recovery for our patients. If your loved one has been Baker Acted and has been required to attend an inpatient or outpatient mental health facility, look no further. CWC Recovery is here to help. Give us a call today for more information on The Baker Act, how it works, and how we can help.
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What Happens When You Baker Act Someone
When a loved one sees a problem occurring and wants to help that individual get help, the first step should always be to ask them to enter into treatment on a voluntary basis. It is the safest option available.
When that does not happen, it may be necessary to go through the steps listed here in order to ensure they receive the level and type of care they need.
Can Baker Act Be Expunged
Law enforcement initiates the Baker Act about 49 percent of the time. Usually, that person never has any court interaction. Therefore, there is no court record to expunge. However, there remains a police incident report. There is no procedure in the law to expunge or seal the records of a Baker Act.
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How To Get A Client Released
The facility isnt the only entity with the ability to get the court system involved. A patient or the patients guardian advocate can file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus requesting a hearing regarding release from involuntary confinement. Forms for this are usually made available to patients at the facility. Otherwise, an attorney can prepare and file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus as needed.
Before filing a petition, legal counsel may be able to get involved during the 72-hour window and obtain a patients release prior to the facility petitioning the court system for permission to extend confinement. As stated earlier, the prevailing test is usually whether the person being held is a danger to himself/herself or to others.
In our experience, the mere presence of an attorney along with family members lets the facility know that there is a support system in place that will address the needs of the patient. This means that a familys plans to address the facilitys concerns through voluntary treatment or the active participation of family can be very effective.
The Baker Act specifically states that confinement is not appropriate when any apparent harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends . . . . Section 394.463, Florida Statutes. Your clients should know that hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to indicate to the facility that they are serious about getting released.
A Person Must Be Impaired
The individual must be emotionally or mentally impaired. That means that they are unable to control their own actions, or they may not understand reality. However, it does not include instances in which a person is under the influence of a substance nor instances in which a person has a developmental disability. More commonly, they are in a state of psychosis and unable to make rational decisions.
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What Else Do Family Members Need To Know
If you have a loved one suffering from a mental illness and believe they are a threat to themselves or others, talk to a mental health professional or another person qualified to initiate the Baker Act. These professionals include:
- Physicians with mental health training
- Clinical Psychologists
Whats The Difference Between The Baker Act And The Marchman Act
The Baker Act and are both used to help Florida citizens who might be of harm to themselves or others but used in two different ways. The Baker Act is meant solely for those struggling with mental health issues while the Marchman Act was created specifically as an answer to substance abuse problems.
When reported by law enforcement, medical professionals, or family members, both acts mean that a person can be held up to seventy-two hours for an involuntary assessment for substance abuse or mental health disorders.
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What Criteria Needs To Be Met To Enact The Florida Baker Act
While it is possible for a person to choose a voluntary Baker Act for themselves, many people are unwilling to agree to go to treatment. In cases such as these, a person can be temporarily committed to a treatment facility if they meet the three following criteria:
- Mental illness is suspected
- The individual is refusing voluntary treatment and doesnt see why they need treatment
- The person poses a threat to themselves or others or is incapable of caring for his or herself.
There are hundreds of different symptoms of mental illness, however, there are some that are more serious than others because they indicate an immediate crisis. Some symptoms and/or conditions that are considered a mental health emergency and may qualify for the Baker Act include:
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Inability to care for oneself
- Severe depression
- Substance abuse
What Is The Difference Between The Baker Act And Marchman Act
The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows individuals who are experiencing crippling mental illness to be involuntarily committed for examination and treatment. The Marchman Act is also a Florida law but is invoked for individuals who are deeply impaired by a substance use disorder.
Each act lasts for different periods of time. For example, when someone is Baker Acted, he or she can only be involuntarily held for 72 hours for an examination. After that, any and all recommended treatment is voluntary and not required by court order. The Marchman Act, however, does require individuals to remain in an involuntary hold for up to five days for examinations and detox. Following that, a judge can order the individual to remain in treatment for up to 60 days, with the potential to follow up that order with another 90 days if deemed necessary.
Because both acts focus on different concerns, the criteria that need to be met in order to invoke either one varies from one another. An example of this would be that a person who needs to be Baker Acted must be in danger of suffering significant personal harm if not intervened on while someone receiving the Marchman Act must have threatened to inflict harm on him/herself or others due to his or her substance abuse.
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Does Being Baker Acted Go On Your Record
Yes. There will be a medical record, a police record if law enforcement was involved and if a petition is filed for involuntary placement then also a court record. There is no procedure in the law to remove or seal the records of a Baker Act.
How To Have Someone Committed For Drug Abuse
Anyone with a loved one who is addicted to drugs would jump at the opportunity to have him or her committed in order to help stop the downward spiral into oblivion, but that is not typically an option for most. There are some instances, however, where people can be involuntarily committed for their drug abuse.
The evidence that you would need to provide in order to have your loved one committed for drug abuse is going to vary based on the state that you are in. There is not one common involuntary commitment law that spans across the country, rather each state has its own set of required data. In general, however, if you want to have a loved one involuntarily committed for drug abuse, the following is needed:
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Look Out For These Behaviors
- Behaviors: rapid speech, flight of thought, no eye contact, quick movements, disconnected speech patterns, constant moving or pacing, concentration issues, erratic mood changes, disorganized thoughts, disorientation to time or place, acts of violence, self-harm, combative or aggressive behavior, inappropriate dress or nudity
- Hallucinations: sees people who arent there, hears voices telling them to hurt themselves or others, reports that the television is suggesting harm to others, turning the head as if listening to an unseen person
- Self-care issues: insomnia or increased sleep, has not eaten for days, not taking prescribed medications, home in disarray, neglects property or personal hygiene to the point of putting self or others at risk
- Feelings: low self-esteem with feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, actions lack feeling or interest
- Suicidal risks: has weapons or access to weapons, speaks about previous attempts, makes direct comments about dying or self-harm, evidence of previous attempts such as scars on wrists
- Elderly issues: wandering at night, leaving things on the stove unattended, not eating or sleeping or caring for personal needs, unrealistic fears, uncontrollable anxiety, confusion, quantity and age of unused food at home
- Substance abuse: abuse of prescribed medications, use of alcohol or illegal substances while taking medications
*If substance abuse appears to be the only issue, the Marchman Act may be more appropriate.
What Happens After The Involuntary Examination Period
The involuntary examination period cannot exceed 72 hours for adults and 12 hours for minors. Within that time, a clinical psychologist or a physician experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders must examine the individual. After completion of the examination, one of the following must happen:
- The person is released unless charged with a crime.
- The person is released for outpatient treatment.
- The person gives informed consent for voluntary placement in a treatment facility.
- Medical professionals file a petition with the circuit court for involuntary placement.
The receiving facility cannot file a petition with the court for involuntary placement unless they have documented clear evidence the person is mentally ill, is in danger of self-neglect, and poses a threat to themselves or others.
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How Long Does The Baker Act Last
When someone is Baker Acted, he or she cannot be involuntarily held for more than 72 hours. During that time, these individuals will receive a mental health examination from a licensed professional. Baker Acted minors under the age of 18 can only be held involuntarily held for 12 hours, and once that 12 hours has expired, they can then be examined. If the results of the examination prove that there is no further intervention needed, the individual can be released. If it is determined that treatment is necessary, the individual will be asked to voluntarily admit him/herself into treatment or be released with the recommendation to enroll in an outpatient treatment program.
Helping Someone With Mental Health Issues
Keep an eye on your friend or family member. Try to get her help in the form of mental health counseling or medication. Even if she seems to be improving, watch her very carefully. Using the Baker Act is a last resort.
Talk to your friend about voluntarily Baker Acting himself. Anyone 18 years of age or older can Baker Act himself. If the person is under 18, parents must provide the authorization. You can also contact your friend’s mental health professional. Any mental health professional can authorize the psych hold if he feels it’s necessary.
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What Is The Florida Baker Act
Many people ask what is the Baker Act? The Baker Act is a law in the state of Florida that allows family members and mental health professionals to provide emergency mental health services and to temporarily detain someone who is impaired and is determined to be a threat to themselves or others. People who require the Baker Act typically cannot commit to safety and need help immediately. Examples of conditions that might warrant the Baker Act are suicidal or homicidal thoughts and urges, especially when there is a clear plan or intent to cause harm, severe and debilitating psychiatric symptoms that prevent an individual from being able to care for him or herself, a sudden and severe worsening of psychotic symptoms that impair normal functioning, any kind of delusion or hallucination that might cause extreme agitation or violence in an individual.
The Baker Act was put into law in 1972 in the city of Miami by a woman named Maxine Baker who sponsored the bill.
Involuntary Commitment By State
There are currently 37 out of the 50 states in America that have involuntary commitment laws put in place. The specifics of these laws vary from state to state, however, are all designed to help those who cannot help themselves.
The states that have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorder and alcoholism are:
The states that have involuntary commitment laws for alcoholism only are:
- Rhode Island
Vermont is the one singular state in America that has involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorder only.
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Key Points For Involuntary Admissions
1. Your role is not to diagnose but if you have reason to believe someone appears mentally ill, you can decide if that person may be putting himself or herself or others in danger and meets the criteria for a complete evaluation.
2. You do not need to witness all the behaviors personally. You can consider credible eyewitness accounts from others as you determine the need for further assessment.
3. Officers must complete two forms when initiating the Baker Act: Report of Law Enforcement Officer Initiating Involuntary Examination , and Transportation to Receiving FacilityPart I .
Quick Guide For Law Enforcement Officers
Sometimes its hard to know if you should Baker Act someone. You want to be a responsible officer and do the right thing to protect individuals and those nearby, but youre not sure whether to take a person to jail or to initiate the Baker Act and take the person to a receiving facility.
This guide has been developed by the Mental Health Coalition of Pinellas County to help you make that decision in the field. We have outlined some common behaviors of those in crisis and summarized things to be on the lookout for.
Behaviors to Look For
Individuals with mental illness who may need further evaluation typically exhibit a combination of the following behaviors, characteristics, or indicators of their illness:
NOTE: If you have any doubts, dont forget to contact your CIT Officers or one of the receiving facilities.
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Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Port St Lucie Florida
The Port St. Lucie Hospital is one of the dual diagnosis residential treatment centers in Florida that offers inpatient mental health and addiction treatment at the same time. As a Baker Act-receiving facility, we also offer crisis care for those suffering from acute psychiatric distress. The facility also offers medical detox services, which means that the multidisciplinary staff can treat a patient from crisis care admission to detox, to mental health and addiction treatment completion.
In addition to these services, the Port St. Lucie hospital also offers adult and senior mental health programs, and a partial hospitalization program. Each of these programs can be tailored to individual patient needs.
We welcome you to our facility. From Baker Acts to dual diagnosis, support groups, and individual therapy treatment options, we are here to fight the battle with you. Reach out to us online today, or call us at .
Examination At The Receiving Mental Health Facility
Once the individual arrives at the receiving facility, they must be examined immediately by a clinical psychologist or a physician experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Additionally, the individual must not be released without documented approval by a licensed psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.
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