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  #1  
Old 11-13-2000, 06:23 AM
Dani Filth Dani Filth is offline
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Here's a wierd question that came up in a discussion with a friend of mine the other day... Can you be committed against your will, by say, a psycologist or someone simmilar?

Suppose you are telling your shrink really nutso things, not just, "I'm unhappy" or , "My parents didnt love me enough.". I mean more along the lines of, "I REALLY want to butcher my neighbors and hide the remains in my cellar" or, "I want to rape/kill people", or something equally psycho. Can they at some point decide you are a danger to yourself/others and put you away? What are the guidelines for having someone committed against thier will?

(and YES, this is a hypothetical question, my dog hasn't told me to kill for him in weeks... )

-Dani
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2000, 06:45 AM
Andy Andy is offline
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In the UK, you can be 'sectioned'. This involves detention by the police or in a mental facility under the terms of the Mental Health Act (1983) and can involve detention against one's will. The various sections of the act require different conditions to be met in order to legally allow the incarceration. Here's some info on the MHA.
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Old 11-13-2000, 08:02 AM
Fyodor Fyodor is offline
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Here in Canada it isn't easy; people have very good constitutional rights. But, as soon as a person commits a violent or destructive act or even threatens someone they can be drawn into the criminal justice system. Threatening someone with violence or death is a serious offense. A judge can then consider the circumstances and order the person detained for a thirty-day psychiatric examination, and this can result in an indefinite detention in a mental health facility. I'm not sure how suicide threats or suicide attempts can be dealt with.

There was a recent Canadian case of a wealthy woman, a prominent socialite, who emptied a handgun into her husband's back and then bent over him and wondered out loud how long it would take him to die. He lived. She went to trial, the prosecution put a psychiatrist on the stand that totally agreed with the defense psychiatrist (hey, the legal community likes to be invited to all the good parties too), she spent a few months in a bonkers bin with poor people who had been incarcerated for decades for merely pointing and threatening with a firearm, and then she was out and back in her mansion, prohibited from drinking alcohol.
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Old 11-13-2000, 08:16 AM
Dani Filth Dani Filth is offline
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Wow, aren't social classes great? What i'm talking about here thought isn't actually going through with an act, merely planing/discussing it. It's one thing to threaten someone with violence or whatever, it's another entirely to tell someone of your plans to do harm to an outside party. Part of what prompted this really was all of those awful school shootings here in the US a while back. Children got into trouble for even joking about attacking someone else or bombs/guns or whatever. Some were even expelled from school. </digress> But if you are going to a therapist of your own free will, and you start telling him/her things that get stranger and stranger (use your own shameful imagination here), can they at some point send you to the looney bin?

Oh and thanks for the link android

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  #5  
Old 11-13-2000, 09:28 AM
screech-owl screech-owl is offline
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Information from the 'Florida Mental Health Act'

Florida has the 'FLORIDA MENTAL HEALTH ACT'. (394.451 Short title.394.453 Legislative intent. 394.455 Definitions, etc... ), commonly known as the 'Baker Act', allowing the involuntary commttal of persons deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. [One of my neighbors was 'Baker Acted' after she attacked one of the fire rescue personell sent to help her - she was in her apartment screaming from a bad migraine and 'didn't know what she was doing'.]

1997 Florida Statutes, then scroll down to Title XXIX, Chapter 393 - Mental Health, and click on Part I - Florida Mental Health Act. The link will provide more links regarding the act, definitions and parameters.

I have highlighted the involuntary commitment section below:

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH Chapter 394
Mental Health

394.453 Legislative intent.--It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize and direct the 1Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services to evaluate, research, plan, and recommend to the Governor and the Legislature programs designed to reduce the occurrence, severity, duration, and disabling aspects of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. It is the intent of the Legislature that treatment programs for such disorders shall include, but not be limited to, comprehensive health, social, educational, and rehabilitative services to persons requiring intensive short-term and continued treatment in order to encourage them to assume responsibility for their treatment and recovery. It is intended that such persons be provided with emergency service and temporary detention for evaluation when required; that they be admitted to treatment facilities on a voluntary basis when extended or continuing care is needed and unavailable in the community; that involuntary placement be provided only when expert evaluation determines that it is necessary; that any involuntary treatment or examination be accomplished in a setting which is clinically appropriate and most likely to facilitate the person's return to the community as soon as possible; and that individual dignity and human rights be guaranteed to all persons who are admitted to mental health facilities or who are being held under s. 394.463. It is the further intent of the Legislature that the least restrictive means of intervention be employed.

There is way too much information to cut-n-paste, but follow the instructions above and specifically read these two sections for more information:

394.463 Involuntary examination

and

394.467 Involuntary placement

[I tried to link to make it easier, but kept getting error messages.]

Hope this is informative.
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  #6  
Old 11-13-2000, 09:37 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2000, 09:56 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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My SO, the doctor, has tried to commit several patients against their "will", so to speak. I put that in quotes because these people are truly disconnected with reality.

The laws differ in each State. My understanding is that in some States in the East, it can be very easy still to be committed by one psychiatrist's signature. I also understand that there are cases where you can be committed for 48 hours for "observation" on very flimsy evidence or just by having one psych sign off on it.

Here in Kansas, it is extremely hard to commit anyone - even those who seem to be severely incapacitated. My understanding is the presumption under the law is that no one should be committed, unless it can be proven without any doubt at all that the person poses a clear and immediate danger to themselves or others. But if they have not yet committed a crime, still it is extremely hard. Also, the State provides very adept lawyers for free to argue against committment, and they do a very good job.

Which might explain why the drivers here are so crazy...
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2000, 05:54 PM
jb_farley jb_farley is offline
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I work at a pickle factory, and I've been fixated on putting my penis in the pickle slicer. Could I be committed?
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2000, 06:21 PM
cegan523 cegan523 is offline
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***(jb_farley) I work at a pickle factory, and I've been fixated on putting my penis in the pickle slicer. Could I be committed?


Probably not, but you could be hurt rather badly
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2000, 06:25 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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No, but you could be fired. They'd fire the pickle slicer, too.
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2000, 07:09 PM
Drum God Drum God is online now
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My wife works at a public Mental Helath/ Mental Retardation clinic here in Texas, and she told me the following:

When her office "commits" someone, they really are only recommending that the individual be committed to the state hospital (or other mental institution). (The state hospital for our community is in Austin -- about sixty miles away.) A police officer (or sheriff's deputy or state trooper) actually transports the patient (client) to the institution. The officer is the person making the committment. He/She can certainly detain someone against his/her will (as in arrest you). Once admitted to the hospital, a doctor or other medical professional must evaluate the patient within a specified period of time. If that person meets certain criteria, he is detained in the hospital. If he does not meet the criteria, he is returned (by the police) to his community.

[political statement]
Of course, here in Texas, very little attention is paid to public mental health services. We prefer to execute people rather than actually take steps to prevent homicidal tragedy in the first place. [/political statement]
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Old 11-13-2000, 08:31 PM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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Only a slight hijack:

Some states - Wisconsin comes to mind - are experimenting with civil commitment for sexual predators that have served their time and would otherwise need to be released from jail.

Under this approach, the prisoner is evaluated for his likeliness to re-offend -- whether, in other words, he's likely to be a danger to others. If he is, then the state begins civil commitment proceedings against the offender. Note that it's a civil, not a criminal, proceeding, so that continued incarceration doesn't offend the Double Jeopardy Clause.

- Rick
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Old 11-13-2000, 09:16 PM
KellyM KellyM is offline
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In the US (or at least my state) any medical doctor may order any person confined against his or her will for up to 72 hours, whenever the doctor believes that that person presents an imminent threat to himself or others. (The police can also confine people for up to 72 hours, but for suspected criminal activity, and that's outside the mental health system.)

Only a court can order someone confined for more than 72 hours. Generally, a person subjected to a 72-hour hold will consent to voluntary commitment rather than allow the court to impose involuntary commitment, because involuntary commitment is virtually irreversible. A person who voluntarily consents to commitment can leave on 24 hours notice and does not lose personhood rights (e.g. right to own property, vote, etc.). A person who is involuntarily committed may not leave without court permission, cannot own property, cannot vote, and cannot recover these rights without first convincing a court that he is now "sane" (which rarely happens).

In some states, a doctor who files an affidavit in support of involuntary commitment which is then denied may be sued for defamation by the individual in question, so most doctors are reluctant to file the affidavit when it's not crystal clear that the individual is actually a complete loony toon. As a result, involuntary committment is pretty rare: most doctors aren't willing to take that risk.

The 72-hour hold is a federal constitional law issue, so every state has that as the maximum restraining time. State law can mandate a shorter maximum restraining time without a court getting involved, but I doubt any state actually does so.
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Old 11-13-2000, 09:48 PM
andygirl andygirl is offline
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In some areas minors can be committed against their own will. Again, it's generally when they're considered a danger against others.
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Old 11-14-2000, 12:14 AM
Astroboy14 Astroboy14 is offline
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A little off-topic, but I used to work in a psychiatric hospital, in the maximum security forensics ward (have you seen "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"? I worked in THAT hospital... it's in Salem, OR)... take my word for it, DO NOT EVER claim to have committed a crime due to insanity!! Some of the guys on the ward I worked on were no more nuts than 90% of the people I see running around free every day; but they committed crimes (some serious, some not so serious), claimed insanity, and get locked up for WAY longer than they would have spent in a normal prison!!

Just go to jail, and keep your mouth shut about the voices, that's what I say...

*I agree*

**Me, too!**

*Shut up! I can't think with all of the noise in here!!!*
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Old 11-14-2000, 07:35 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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In most of the United States and much of Europe, you can be committed for having, in the opinion of two psychiatrists (one admitting, one concurring), signs of a mental condition that could make you a danger to yourself and/or other people. Furthermore, a police officer can detain you for suspicion of same without arresting you oharging you with any crime and remove you to a psychiatric facility for immediate evaluation. If, in the opinion of the two shrinks, you seem to be a danger to yourself or others, you can be held for up to 30 days before being entitled to a hearing in a mental hygiene court, which in theory means that if they feel they need to keep you longer, they have to prove why in a court of law, but in practice means you appear before a mental hygiene judge, most of whom tend to believe that, by definition, "the psychiatrist would know best".

The flip side of this is that there is limited hospital bed space in the bins, so unless you are actively disturbing someone or worrying someone with your behavior, or actually DO (or threaten to do) something dangerous, you aren't likely to be incarcerated involuntarily. Also, for the same reasons, you will most likely be discharged soon unless you are a major problem inside (e.g., violence against staff members, etc).

In theory, "danger to self" is supposed to mean literal and immediate. In practice, it can be and has been stretched to include everything from going out into the cold underdressed to adopting an unprofitable lifestyle and obtaining a job inappropriate for one's station in life.

The flip side, once again, is that if you are homeless and destitute, you could starve and freeze on the outside of the door to Bellevue and they wouldn't commit you, but if you are, let's say, the wife of the Superintendent of Schools in your district and you begin behaving inappropriately, like perhaps mentioning in public that your husband beats you up or something like that, you could find yourself in an environment with locks on the doors and bars in the windows and without shoestrings, belt, or credibility.

Incarceration invariably fails to help those who need help, aside from immobilizing them somewhat, and post-discharge aftercare is nonexistent for the most part, which would be horrible except that the care that the profession is capable of providing tends to cause permanent brain damage while failing to fix the problems, so that is actually for the best.

These circumstances persist because of very little money being devoted to providing truly nurturant care environments and because the profession and the pharmaceutical industry is heavily invested in a non-working paradigm, the "medical model of mental illness", which data has failed to support over the last 125 years, i.e., they continue to believe in the existence AS DISEASES OF BRAIN OR BRAIN CHEMISTRY of specific ailments called "schizophrenia", "depression" and "bipolar disorder" (aka "manic-depressive psychosis") when by the normal standards of inter-rater reliability and causal etiology and diagnostic acumen, they cannot be said to exist. (What we have instead is a lot of human misery, a few observed patterns that it tends to take, mixed results from a variety of medications, and a hell of a stigma.)

For more, including some autobiographical tales, come visit my website at

http://members.aol.com/ahunter3


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  #17  
Old 11-14-2000, 07:40 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Kelly:

Quote:
In the US (or at least my state) any medical doctor may order any person confined against his or her
will for up to 72 hours, whenever the doctor believes that that person presents an imminent threat to
himself or others. (The police can also confine people for up to 72 hours, but for suspected criminal
activity, and that's outside the mental health system.)

Only a court can order someone confined for more than 72 hours

Not quite true. If you commit YOURSELF, voluntarily, and then change your mind, they can only hold you 72 hours after you officially notify them that you'd like to go home instead of taking the pretty pills and watching the TV behind the wire cage. If, within that 72 hour period, the supervising shrink opts to go for a commitment hearing, it does not have to occur within the 72 hours, but only within the month to follow. If the shrink doesn't opt for it and 72 hours go by after your 72-hour-letter, they have to let you go.

But if the police choose to bring you in for observation, or you are directly committed by psychiatrists against your will at some point, a hearing is automatically scheduled which must occur within a month, and 72 hours do not come into play at all.
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Old 11-14-2000, 11:23 AM
KellyM KellyM is offline
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Obviously the law varies from state to state. The procedures I set forth are correct (as far as I know) for my state; your state may vary. Federal law establishes certain limits but there's obviously a lot of room within those limits for states to set their own balance between freedom and public safety issues.
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Old 11-14-2000, 06:10 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Sounds like a good reason to relocate. What's your state? And how do y'all feel about lunatic immigrants?
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Old 11-14-2000, 08:44 PM
oldscratch oldscratch is offline
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In California.

If the shrink rules that you are a danger to yourself or others you can be commited against your will. It's called a 5150 form. Or "I was 5150'd" This is for 72 hours. If at the end of that period, they feel that you are still a danger, they will 5153 you. This will keep you behind walls for up to 2 weeks. You can challenge it in court, bu you have to challenge it the moment they stick you with the form. It's a hearing before a judge, no jury. If you fail to challenge it, you are basicly at the mercy of your doctor. After the two weeks, they can keep extending it indefinetely. If you are 5150'd you lose the right to bear arms for 5 years, if you are 5153'd you lose it for life.

I was 5150'd but never 53'd.
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