How to Commit Someone for Mental Evaluation

by Onyi Eke-Okoro ; Updated October 25, 2017
Closely monitor the person and observe his behavior for signs of mental unstability.

Mental evaluation is an examination to check the integrity of someone’s mental status if he is exhibiting signs of being mentally unstable. This commitment can be voluntary if the person consents to getting a mental evaluation, or involuntary if you go against the person's will and place him for mental evaluation in compliance with the mental health rules and regulations. It is a lot easier and faster to commit someone voluntarily but before you commit anyone, you have to research the mental health laws of your state as these laws vary.

Voluntary Commitment

Step 1

Observe the person's behavior for any abnormal behaviors that indicate that she is becoming a threat to herself and others. Talk to the person about your observations and concerns about her behavior or manner of speech, and convince her to accompany you to a mental health agency for an evaluation.

Step 2

Contact a mental health facility and book an appointment with qualified evaluating psychiatrist or psychologist to evaluate the person and determine his mental status.Take the person for the evaluation to determine the severity of the problem and find out if inpatient or outpatient care is required.

Step 3

If inpatient care is required, you also have to advise her to sign the consent form for inpatient care and to take part in the necessary treatments. If the patient is younger than 18, a parent or legal guardian is required to sign the consent form.

Involuntary Commitment

Step 1

Monitor the person’s actions or speech closely for any signs that indicate the person is mentally unstable and has become a threat to himself or others so that you can have evidence to convince the authorities of the person’s mental instability.

Step 2

Contact your state mental health department to find out how they evaluate mental status for commitment and file an application for a court order evaluation. The person will be sent for an evaluation against their will if you have enough evidence to show that she needs medical attention.

Step 3

To ensure that your petition has sufficient evidence to prove that the person requires medical attention, contact a psychiatrist to evaluate the patient’s mental status. Give the psychiatrist the details of your relationship and association with the person, and any other useful information that you are aware of to help in the diagnosis.

Step 4

Attend the court hearing with the psychiatrist and testify about everything you know, stating incidences that led you to believe that the person has become a threat to himself or society. The psychiatrist also can show his diagnosis to the magistrate. If the magistrate is convinced of the severity of the person's health issue, he will place the person in the custody of a law enforcement officer.

Step 5

The law enforcement officer then takes the person to an eligible psychiatrist for an evaluation. The psychiatrist will make a first evaluation to determine the severity of the situation.The person is kept in the hospital for 24 to 72 hours, depending on the law governing the state. The psychiatrist monitors the person closely and makes the final diagnosis to determine if the person will be released, or if her stay will be extended. He sends a copy of the final diagnosis to the magistrate.

Warnings

  • Research on the laws governing the state of the mentally unstable person before venturing into involuntary commitment. Make sure you have enough evidence to prove that the person is a threat to himself and others before going to court for the hearing. Try to convince the person to go for a voluntary commitment before resorting to an involuntary commitment.

About the Author

Onyi Eke-Okoro started writing for eNucleic LLC and Gold Adit services in 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing and general science from Rutgers University and has obtained a Master of Public Health in nutrition. She currently works as a nurse while maintaining her passion for writing.

Photo Credits

  • The girl sobs, having writhed from mental anguish image by Ksyu from Fotolia.com