As difficult as it can be for family and friends to watch someone struggle with mental illness, getting involved directly introduces new concerns and uncertainties. Many cases require the prudent use of involuntary psychiatric commitment. The United States Supreme Court has upheld the legality of such procedures at the federal level, and for Hoosiers, the procedures to do this are defined in the state legal code. It is important to investigate local resources, as most Indiana communities have local resources and procedures that apply in addition to state law.
Try to have the individual sign to accept treatment voluntarily. This can be done at a specialized psychiatric center, but if necessary (such as late at night) they could go to an emergency room (ER). The hospital ER will assess the person's needs and, if necessary, transfer him as quickly as possible to a specialized facility.
Speak with the individual's physician about your concerns if the individual is unwilling to undergo treatment. Ask the physician to petition the municipal court for an involuntary commitment. Although anyone can file the legal petition to have someone involuntarily committed for up to 90 days, this type of petition requires a statement from a physician who has treated the individual within 30 days.
Request the individual's physician to petition for an "Emergency Detention" directly to law enforcement if more than 30 days has passed since the time of treatment. Emergency detention does not require a court order but, unlike a court-ordered involuntary commitment, has a maximum duration of 3 days.
Call 911 and request to speak with a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) representative and request an "immediate detention." This is the remaining option, if no physician is available to endorse your request to have the person committed to a psychiatric facility. If your community does not have a CIT, a police officer will serve this duty. The responding officer will evaluate the situation and decide if immediate detention, lasting a maximum of 24 hours, is appropriate.
Consult your local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for the best resources in your municipality. NAMI has an Indiana chapter, as well as several local chapters within the state.
According to Indiana law, people who petition for involuntary commitment are immune from liability as long as the petition is made in good faith and not out of malice.
- Consult your local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for the best resources in your municipality. NAMI has an Indiana chapter, as well as several local chapters within the state.
- According to Indiana law, people who petition for involuntary commitment are immune from liability as long as the petition is made in good faith and not out of malice.
Tom Pace has been writing since 2000. His work has been featured by websites such as I-Mockery and his first book was published by Virtual Bookworm in 2005. Pace has been trained to coach students preparing for the GRE. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies at the University of Chicago.