Michael Clayton, Slate and an important question
If you have a loved one that may need involuntary care at some point, it pays to research the answer now, before a crisis occurs. A crisis situation is no time to begin understanding the confusing and often nonsensical process of commitment.
Take some time to look up your state’s commitment laws. Find out what forms you’ll need to fill out and who you’ll need to contact if the situation ever arises. Research what your area’s standard for commitment actually says (you may find it’s quite different than what people think!)
Check out your state/local mental health departments to see what materials they provide. In the 45 jurisdictions that allow direct petitioning for commitments, the clerk at the local court should also have copies of the necessary forms. If possible, talk to your loved one about filling out an advance directive when they are doing well.
More tips and strategies, including information on creating a CARE kit, are available on our website.