|The process of voluntary and involuntary commitment in Florida is laid out in the Baker Act also known as The Florida Mental Health Act. This document lays out the rules and procedure of how people who appear to have a mental illness, present a danger to themselves or others and refuses a voluntary exam or is unable to comprehend the need for such an exam. The Baker Act allows for family members or concerned friends of an individual to get them help if they will not get themselves mental health help. After seventy-two hours in a state facility a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist determines if the individual is safe to be released or they file a petition to involuntarily commit them if they are deemed unsafe. A hearing then takes place where the court determines if the individual needs to be involuntarily committed and if that is deemed necessary then a few different steps can be taken. The patient could be sent to a State mental health treatment facility, or a short-term residential mental health facility. Initially they can be committed for up to six months which can be extended upon approval of additional hearings.
Some counties in Florida also have Involuntary Outpatient Placement (IOP), which is a program which allows participants to not have to live in a facility but still give them the mental health help they require. IOP is more difficult to be selected for than involuntary inpatient placement due to the list of requirements such as a history of noncompience and being deemed unlikey to be safe unless supervised, they must also have in the last thirty six months received at least two Baker Act involuntary exams; or received private mental health help; or have engaged in serious violent behavior or attempts at self-harm. If you or anyone you know has any questions regarding involuntary or voluntary commitment please contact us at 904-868-5665 and we will be happy to assist you!