Defined by Michigan Statute as “a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life” in MCL 330.1400(g), not all mentally ill persons will qualify for involuntary treatment under the Mental Health Code.
To be a person requiring treatment, the individual must have a mental illness and at least one of the following factors MCL 330.1401:
- Can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously harm himself/herself or another person, and who has already done so or threatened to do so; or
- Is unable to attend to his/her basic physical needs such as food, clothing, or shelter; or
- Is unable to understand his/her need for treatment which may result in significant physical harm to himself/herself or to others.
An adult may consent to voluntary treatment at any private or public facility of his/her choice willing and able to accept the patient without involvement of the Court. If a patient agrees to voluntary treatment, the facility determines that the patient needs to remain in the facility for treatment and they are generally permitted to leave the facility at any time.
If voluntary treatment is not possible and the Court becomes involved, the Court may order treatment at a specific location.
There are two ways a person can be involuntarily transported to a facility for treatment: protective custody pick-ups or transport because of a medical certification.
- Protective Custody: If a police officer observes someone acting in a manner which causes the officer to reasonably believe that the adult is a “person requiring treatment” and that the person presents a serious danger to self or others, the officer may take the individual into protective custody and transport the individual to a hospital. MCL 330.1427
- Transport by Medical Certification: If an adult voluntarily agrees to be examined by a psychiatrist or physician and the doctor concludes that the individual is a “person requiring treatment,” a court order is not necessary.
The doctor must complete a Clinical Certificate (PCM 208) and the petitioner (the person requesting treatment of the mentally ill individual) must complete the Petition for Mental Health Treatment (PCM 201).
The Clinical Certificate and the Petition for Mental Health Treatment can be shown to the police or an ambulance company so that the person can be transported to a facility for treatment but must be shown within 72 hours of being completed. Once the Court receives the papers, a hearing will be held within seven days to determine whether the patient should remain hospitalized.
Filing a Petition
To file a petition, a person may first contact Newaygo County Mental Health at (231) 689-7330 for help with filling out the Petition.
To file a petition in Newaygo County Probate Court, the alleged mentally ill person must be:
- Either a resident of Newaygo County or presently found in Newaygo County
- At least 18 years of age
There is no filing fee associated with a Petition for Mental Health Treatment
After the petition is filed, several things may happen before the hearing:
- Once the individual is transported to the treatment facility, another evaluation will be made within 24 hours. MCL 330.1429(1) If the examining physician or psychologist does not find the person to be a “person requiring treatment,” the individual will be released immediately. MCL 330.1429(1) If the examiner signs a Clinical Certificate, the individual will be hospitalized pending the hearing, which must be held within 7 days of the Court receiving the papers.
- If the patient does not have his/her own attorney, then the court will appoint an attorney to represent the patient. MCL 330.1454(2)
- Newaygo County Community Mental Health will prepare an Alternative Treatment Report that the Judge will study to determine if there is a better alternative to hospitalization. MCL 330.1453a
- A deferral meeting will be held within 72 hours of the filing of the petition. At this time, the attorney who was appointed by the Court will make sure that the court process is explained to the patient and the patient will be given the chance to accept the proposed plan of treatment (deferment) , with the condition that s/he has the right to request a hearing at any time, and a hearing must be convened by the court within seven days. MCL 330.1451(8) No hearing will be held if the patient defers.
At the Hearing
At the hearing, the patient has the right to an attorney, a trial by judge or jury, and an independent medical examination. The county prosecuting attorney will represent the petitioner and the county at the hearing. The patient may be brought to the courthouse by peace officers and must be present at the hearing unless s/he waives his/her presence in open court or signs a waiver in the presence of his/her attorney.
A doctor from the hospital will testify and the petitioner may be asked to testify. At the hearing the court will decide whether the person is a “person requiring treatment.” The judge has the option of dismissing the petition or ordering up to 90 days of treatment, which may be a combination of a maximum of 60 days of hospitalization and outpatient treatment.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the family may wish to place the patient in a private facility rather than a public facility. As the treatment time expires, the facility may file a Petition for Second or Continuing Mental Health Treatment Order PCM 218, if continued hospitalization appears necessary, and a hearing will be necessary. MCL 330.1455