Involuntary commitment or civil commitment is a legal process through which an individual with symptoms of severe mental illness is court-ordered into treatment in a hospital (inpatient) or in the community (outpatient).
Criteria for civil commitment are established by law, which varies between nations, in the U.S., from state to state, and in Canada, from province to province. Commitment proceedings often follow a period of emergency hospitalization during which an individual with acute psychiatric symptoms is confined for a relatively short duration (e.g. 72 hours) in a treatment facility for evaluation and stabilization by mental health professionals — who may then determine whether further civil commitment is appropriate or necessary. If civil commitment proceedings follow, the evaluation is presented in a formal court hearing where testimony and other evidence may also be submitted. The subject of the hearing is typically entitled to legal counsel and may challenge a commitment order through habeas corpus rules.
Historically, until the first third of the twentieth century or later in most jurisdictions, all committals to public psychiatric facilities and most committals to private ones were involuntary. Since then, there have been alternating trends towards the abolition or substantial reduction of involuntary commitment, a trend known as "deinstitutionalization."
Famous quotes containing the words involuntary and/or commitment:
“Concupiscence and force are the source of all our actions; concupiscence causes voluntary actions, force involuntary ones.”
—Blaise Pascal (16231662)
“Involuntary mental hospitalization is like slavery. Refining the standards for commitment is like prettifying the slave plantations. The problem is not how to improve commitment, but how to abolish it.”
—Thomas Szasz (b. 1920)