Can You Be Legally Forced Into A Mental Hospital In New York State?
Mental health has become even more important than ever. If someone suspects that a person's mental health needs to be addressed professionally, can they force the person to be committed to a mental hospital in New York? I'm sure you've seen a movie or TV show where a person is involuntarily sent to get mental health help against their will. But does that actually happen in real life?
In New York, a lot of rap songs make reference to '730,' which is a reference to mental health, according to Cyber Definitions,
730 means 'Crazy.' The term derives from the '730 motion,' which is a court process filed by a defendant seeking an examination by a psychiatrist in order to determine the defendant's mental fitness to proceed to trial.
Can A Person Be Involuntarily Committed To A Mental Hospital In New York State?
When I was a kid, there was a mental health center down the street from my house. My friends and I would ride our bikes past and we would get a little creeped out, considering that was where the 'crazy' people were. Of course, being young, we didn't understand mental health and the climate about mental health was way different back then.
Now, I know more than ever, that it is very important to prioritize mental health. But what about a person who may not realize they need help or refuses to seek help? What if they are a danger to themselves or others? Can they legally be committed here in New York State?
New York State Law Allows For A Person To Be 'Forced' To Receive Professional Mental Treatment
In New York State, a person can be forced into mental health treatment, but there are some steps that must be taken. Involuntary admission to a mental health treatment center can take place in one of three ways:
1. Medical certifcation, which requires that two physicians examine a person and certify that he or she needs involuntary care and treatment in a psychiatric facility. This is sometimes known informally as a “two p.c.” - shorthand for “two physicians certify.” This certifcation must be accompanied by an application for admission, made by someone familiar with the individual (for example, a legal guardian, custodian, next of kin, treating psychiatrist or someone who lives with the person) or by one of a number of government offcials.
I've watched a couple of movies where some relative with a nefarious plan forced a family member into an 'insane asylum,' so they could enact their evil plan to get all of the inheritance. Hollywood aside, if someone close to you suspects that you need professional help, they can possibly force you to seek it in New York State.
The second way to be forced into a mental health treatment center is by a professional,
2. Certifcation by a director of community services, or an examining physician designated by the director of community services. This certifcate states that the person has a mental illness which is likely to result in serious harm to self or others and for which immediate inpatient care and treatment is appropriate.
Yes, A Person Can Claim You Are Mentally Unfit And Force You To Be Committed In New York
The third way seems like the one they always use in movies. It's a bit worrying because all it takes is someone saying that you are mentally unfit. I watched a movie about a scammer who preyed on the elderly, claiming they were unfit, so they would be admitted to mental hospitals, all so she could take control of their estates.
3. Emergency admission based on the claim that the person has a mental illness which is likely to result in serious harm to self or others and for which immediate observation, care and treatment in a psychiatric center is appropriate.
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You can also be committed under a criminal order if you commit a crime and law enforcement suspects that you are mentally unfit.
Individuals may be admitted and retained by a psychiatric center under the following provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) or Correction Law.
You can find more information about the rights of voluntary and involuntary inpatient mental health treatment here.