Mental health has been a significant focus of the medical system during the past few years. Even though it is good news that a lot of people are educating themselves on mental illnesses, it is also true that there are some people who may not be able to help themselves. As a result, they might have to be involuntarily hospitalized. That is called the Baker Act, and it refers to the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971. This allows for the involuntary institutionalization of individuals who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
The Baker Act itself is only legal in Florida. That means that if someone is at risk of hurting themselves or someone else in Florida, they could be involuntarily hospitalized. Even though this is a government law that is only enforced in Florida, it has also become a passive verb that refers to someone who is so unstable that they are at risk of being committed in another state. There are plenty of other states that have similar laws, but the Baker Act is only technically unforced in Florida.
Before someone can be hospitalized, they need to be examined by a trained physician. The Baker Act allows for this to happen. If someone is obviously at risk of hurting themselves or somebody else, they could be taken to a doctor's office where they will be examined by a physician or a mental health professional. Then, if someone shows evidence of a mental illness, or if they are at an obvious risk of hurting themselves or somebody else, they could be institutionalized.
Furthermore, these exams could last for up to 72 hours. If someone is deemed medically stable after this time, they can be released back into society. There are a lot of other outcomes as well, such as a petition for involuntary inpatient placement, or a petition for involuntary outpatient placement. It is also possible for someone to agree to voluntary treatment, where they start to receive mental health treatment of their own accord.
In general, people believe that the Baker Act is a good thing. Right now, there are a lot of people who do not have access to the mental health treatment they need, and the Baker Act could make it easier for someone to get the care they require. On the other hand, this is a temporary solution for a much larger issue. Right now, there are a lot of people who require mental health treatment, and they might not have the capability to get it. The Baker Act is used a bit too often, and one of the easiest ways to reduce the frequency with which it is invoked is to make sure everyone has access to quality mental health treatment to avoid patients deteriorating to the point that they have to be hospitalized.
Baker Act Exists
|District of Columbia||No|