What is the Baker Act?
The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows individuals to be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for up to 72 hours if they meet certain criteria. While California does not have a law specifically called the Baker Act, it does have a similar law called the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act.
Who can initiate a Baker Act/LPS hold?
In California, a person can be placed on a 72-hour involuntary hold if they are a danger to themselves or others, or if they are gravely disabled. The hold can be initiated by law enforcement, mental health professionals, or concerned family members/caregivers.
Steps to initiate a Baker Act/LPS hold
1. Contact law enforcement or a mental health professional. 2. Provide detailed information about the person’s behavior and why you believe they meet the criteria for an involuntary hold. 3. If a mental health professional agrees, they will complete a petition for an involuntary hold and submit it to a judge. 4. A judge will review the petition and determine whether to grant the hold. If granted, the person will be taken to a mental health facility for evaluation and treatment.
What happens during the 72-hour hold?
During the 72-hour hold, the person will be evaluated by mental health professionals to determine if they meet the criteria for further treatment. If they do, they may be placed on a 14-day hold or longer, depending on their condition and the recommendations of their treatment team.
What rights does the person have during the hold?
The person has the right to be informed of their rights, including the right to refuse medication, the right to an attorney, and the right to a hearing to challenge their detention. They also have the right to receive treatment in the least restrictive setting possible.
What happens after the hold?
After the hold, the person may be released if they are deemed no longer a danger to themselves or others, or if they are able to care for themselves. They may also be recommended for further treatment, including outpatient therapy, medication management, or inpatient hospitalization.
What can families and caregivers do to prevent a Baker Act/LPS hold?
Families and caregivers can help prevent the need for an involuntary hold by recognizing the signs of mental illness and seeking treatment early. They can also create a crisis plan with their loved one that outlines steps to take in case of a mental health emergency.
Initiating a Baker Act/LPS hold can be a difficult decision, but it is sometimes necessary to protect the safety and well-being of individuals with mental illness. By understanding the process and working closely with mental health professionals, families and caregivers can help their loved ones receive the care they need.