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Mental Illness Case Information

April 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.” Mental illness can be a heartbreaking burden for the sufferers and their loved ones; and occasionally, the effects of mental illness cross paths with the legal system.

Two types of mental illness cases exist in the U.S. court systems. These include Mental Health Courts and involuntary commitments. Mental Health Courts are often correlated with the Criminal Court system because the individual has been arrested and charged with a crime. If it is determined that the crime suspect suffers from a mental illness, and this was likely a factor in the crime, then the case may be eligible for a Mental Health Court. Each state has their specific requirements for a case to qualify for a Mental Health Court, but generally, these courts are voluntary, and the decision to have a case heard in a Mental Health Court is the decision of the person charged with the crime (and their attorney if applicable). The charged person’s incapacity must however be determined by a health care professional. The outcome of such cases will then involve some sort of treatment plan depending on the mental health issue. Treatments include mental health treatment, medication compliance, inpatient or outpatient chemical dependency treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous or other self-help groups, domestic violence treatment, sex offender treatment or other recommended specialized treatments. If the laws in your state permit criminal records to be open to the public, then this will include Mental Health Court records. In most cases, the actual evaluations performed by a medical professional that determine the health status will be sealed by the judge.

Cases for involuntary commitments involve commitment for treatment of a mental illness after a judge determines that an individual suffers from a mental illness and is either dangerous, or cannot provide for their own basic needs. These cases are typically found in a general jurisdiction county court such as a Superior Court or Circuit Court. However, due to the sensitive nature of these hearings, the records for these cases are not easily accessible by the public. Treatment records are always confidential. Yet, while the person’s commitment may not be confidential, the court will likely require the requester to provide an explanation as to why they are requesting the information. Check with the Clerk of Court in the relevant county to determine your eligibility to obtain access to this sensitive information.�

clperkins82

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 AngelGroup // Dec 23, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Mental instability is also created and perpetuated in the court systems…especially the family courts where – in cases of domestic violence – 58% of the time, children are given to the abusive parent rather than the protective parent. We’ve been watching this happen firsthand in Hawaii. Imagine the mental traumas that are caused in the minds of survivors of family violence when they are forced to hand their children over to their abuser, by order of the court…horrible.

  • 2 wally // Jan 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    In Wash. State, it has to be really obvious that someone is a threat to themselves or others in order to be involuntarily committed. Or else in danger of imminent, irretrievable mental collapse. My sister crashed five weeks after helping her taper off antipsych meds, while switching her over to natural therapies. I tapered her off way too quickly. I should have done it over a 3 year period, (rather than 3 weeks), as she had been on the meds for 12 years. (If she had never started the meds, and instead been started on natural treatments, I’m sure she would never have needed the meds to begin with). After stabilized on the meds, again, she went to a naturopath, and the natural therapies were then combined with the meds. Along with the new, non-gluten, dairy-free diet, her side-effects from the drugs are gone. She feels better than she ever has before. Hopefully we can taper her off her meds again, but this time over a much longer time frame. For those with metabolic imbalances, these naturopathic methods seem to be the solution. For those who have a mental illness caused by psychological factors, such as a nervous breakdown, psychotherapy may be all that is needed.

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