What Is An Involuntary Commitment?

A procedure where by a person is involuntarily placed in the custody of the State Department of Mental Health for Treatment.

What Procedure Is Used To Initiate An Involuntary Commitment?

Any person may seek to have another person committed by filing a petition with the Probate Court. The petition must contain the following:

name and address of the petitioner; and

name and location of alleged incapacitated person’s spouse, attorney or next of kin; and

that petitioner has reason to believe the person is mentally ill; and

petitioner’s beliefs are based on specific behavior, acts, attempts or threats which are described in detail; and

names and addresses of other people with knowledge, of
the person’s illness or who observed the person’s overt acts and who may be called as his/her witnesses.

Must There Be a Hearing?

Yes, a hearing is to be held by probate judge without a jury and it is open to the public unless requested otherwise by the respondent (defendant). Commitment is granted only if the elements required are established by clear, unequivocal and convincing evidence.

What Are The Results Of The Hearing?

If commitment is granted, the order shall be entered for outpatient or inpatient treatment. The least restrictive alternative necessary and available for the treatment of the person’s mental illness shall be ordered. Inpatient treatment may be ordered at a state or a designated mental health facility. If said facility consents to treat the defendant on an outpatient basis.