Mental Health Treatment Programs to Meet a Judge’s Order
Dealing with court-ordered inpatient and outpatient treatment for mental health is never an easy situation to face. Typically court-ordered treatment is a last-ditch effort when loved ones and family members display signs of severe mental disorder or distress but refuse to seek treatment voluntarily.
It’s a heartbreaking situation – having to experience forcing a loved one into court-ordered inpatient and outpatient treatment against their will. But keep in mind it’s in their best interests, and the faster they receive a mental health evaluation and the proper therapy, the faster they’re able to overcome their mental disorder.
If you know someone who displays signs of severe mental illness and won’t submit to a voluntary evaluation – and could potentially harm themselves or others, this article outlines the basics of court ordered mental health treatment Arizona services as ordered by a Judge.
You’ll learn about the differences between voluntary treatment and options for those who aren’t willing to accept treatment voluntarily. We’ll cover Arizona’s mental health court system, what it takes to present convincing evidence that someone is acutely disabled, and how to navigate court-ordered treatment at Catalina Behavioral Health for a proposed patient.
The Ins and Outs of the Court Ordered Evaluation and Treatment Process In Arizona
When someone is ordered by the courts to enter a mental health facility, this is what’s known as involuntary treatment – usually for a severe underlying mental disorder or some type of trauma. How does this system work in Arizona?
Every state is different in how the court-ordered evaluation and how the failure to accept voluntary treatment process plays out. How severe does the proposed patient have to be? What kind of mental disorder is the most common? What happens during the court-ordered evaluation?
In the next section, you’ll learn all the answers to these questions in relation to the emergency admissions process in Arizona.
How Exactly Does the Emergency Admission Process Work In Arizona?
When a proposed patient is brought before the courts with a mental disorder, it usually happens under one of two guises.
- The individual’s situation was unmanageable and they were a clear danger to themselves and others, leading to family or loved ones to contact local law enforcement and petition for court-ordered care to start the process of involuntary evaluation and admission.
- The individual has already committed a crime and is either considered criminally insane (in severe cases) or they’re being offered treatment as a diversion to the initial punishment.
In the case of the first scenario, the steps in Arizona for involuntary evaluation in regard to court-ordered mental health treatment typically play out as follows:
The individual will undergo an involuntary evaluation to find out if they are a danger to one’s self and others. In some instances, the individual may be a gravely disabled person who has stopped taking medication prescribed to them and is already considered diagnosed with an acute disability.
In the case of the first scenario listed above, the individual is usually taken directly to a community-based clinic for further evaluation, where a mental health professional will compile convincing evidence or note that they’re not taking medication prescribed to them.
With this information, you can introduce evidence with two or more witnesses and petition for court-ordered emergency admission. It’s worth noting that the proposed patient may be held for up to 72 hours while awaiting for their mental health evaluation.
Court Hearings for Mental Health Commitment
After you petition for court-ordered treatment for the proposed patient, the judge will see all the evidence and make a decision based on the facts and evaluation. Their decision is based on the following parameters:
- If the individual is acutely disabled or gravely disabled, this is grounds to admit the proposed patient.
- By Arizona law, the proposed patient must have a substantial emotional, behavioral, or cognitive disorder.
Issuance of a Judge’s Order
Assuming the judge agrees with the information in the court-ordered evaluation, the judge will release an issuance, sending the individual for a designated length of time of court ordered mental health treatment.
A Safe Alternative to Arrest or Being in Police Custody
Calling the police on a loved one is never an easy thing to do – and can be demoralizing for the individual who must endure this tragic situation. Many of the clients at Catalina Behavioral Health and their families have inquired about whether there is another way to have someone enter treatment without having them committed to handcuffs.
There are two primary methods of action when it comes to someone who doesn’t accept treatment voluntarily. There is the Emergent Approach and the Non-Emergent Approach.
- The Emergent Approach is when the individual poses an immediate danger to themselves or others and has a substantial mental health disorder.
- The Non-Emergent approach is when the individual will experience harm eventually, but it’s not immediately life-threatening.
In the second example, there’s no need to call law enforcement to have them detained. You can still petition the courts and go through this process without involving law enforcement.
Types of Treatment Available in Arizona After a Court Ordered Evaluation
Determining the right kind of treatment for those ordered to treatment through the Arizona courts varies depending on severity and the specific disorder.
However, the first order of business is determining the specific level of care prior to establishing a personalized treatment plan.
Petition for Court-Ordered Inpatient Treatment
After the involuntary evaluation in Arizona, the level of care is determined. If the person in question is acutely disabled, gravely disabled, considered a danger to self or others, and there’s an emergency admission into an inpatient treatment facility.
The inpatient program is far better equipped to handle the needs of more severe cases, or cases that have a significant amount of history and repeated admissions.
During inpatient treatment for mental health, the client will have access to nurses and mental health professionals 24 hours per day. They’ll also engage in one-on-one therapy sessions, consisting of behavioral health options, trauma-informed care, or other therapeutic modalities.
If the individual is NOT acutely disabled, gravely disabled, or a danger to self and others – generally outpatient is a safe option. Clients will have all the same options regarding therapy, although the time is much less demanding. Participants are expected to attend for about 4 to 5 hours weekly.
Group therapy may also be available, in addition to family involvement. Typically, the average outpatient service takes place at a community-based clinic in Arizona when it’s a court-ordered situation, and Catalina can serve in this capacity, as we are both accredited for mental health treatment as well as among the top Arizona rehabs that accept AHCCS insurance.
Medication During Court Ordered Mental Health Treatment
Sometimes individuals going through severe mental distress require a change of their medication, or to have their prescription started again. It’s not uncommon for those with mental health disorders to abruptly stop their medication during severe breakdowns.
This is when intervention from the courts in Arizona becomes vital, as these situations can quickly escalate and become dangerous.
Emergency and Short-term Crisis Interventions
This is when the individual receives their involuntary evaluation through an application for emergency admission. If the person is a direct and immediate danger to self or others, a temporary 72-hour hold is placed, and they must remain under inpatient care until the evaluation and court process.
Without legal interference, technically there’s nothing else the facility can do after 72 hours in an Arizona treatment facility. It’s worth noting that during these temporary holds, it often takes the opinion of at least two physicians.
Evaluating physicians are not typically involved in a pre-petition screening, however.
The Rights of Those in a Court-Ordered Treatment Situation in Arizona
Naturally, there is a distinct set of rights that protect anyone undergoing court-ordered treatment or evaluation. Several Arizona laws and bills were established to guarantee the well-being of those going through therapy, especially if there is nobody specifically advocating for them.
The following list outlines these regulations to help ensure any facility you encounter is operating under the law.
Your Right to Professional Treatment
Everybody undergoing court-ordered treatment has the right to receive professional mental health services.
Privacy Rights During Mental Health Treatment
All information, including health records, treatment plans, and anything sensitive or specific to your treatment must be kept private according to HIPAA laws.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment: What is Least Restrictive?
Even though technically it’s forced treatment, Arizona law makes it a point to maintain a level of care that’s less invasive to the patient’s daily life, while still maintaining a certain degree of impact.
That said, there are also laws and regulations you must follow as someone who is undergoing court-ordered treatment. You must remain compliant, ensure you keep communication with anyone in charge of your court-ordered treatment (or the judge), and be respectful of workers and other clients during your time in treatment.
Get Proven Mental Health Treatment Options at Catalina
Catalina Behavioral Health works with clients daily who must attend treatment as part of a court order. We like to think of ourselves as a cut above community-based clinics, as our personalized treatment programs cater to each client in a unique way.
If you’re facing court-ordered treatment and need assistance, contact us today and we’ll help you navigate this difficult situation. All calls are confidential, so please reach out in confidence today!