Florida’s Baker Act: Should Other States Follow?
The Florida Mental Health Act, otherwise referred to as Florida’s Baker Act, permits for the involuntary assessment of an individual for no more than 72 hours. There are specific rules and guidelines for this hold, but still the act has been controversial.
What Is Florida’s Baker Act?
To be more specific, Florida’s Baker Act is a 72-hour involuntary hold that can be initiated by a judge, police officers, medical doctors, and mental health professionals. The idea behind this act is to push people who may pose a threat to themselves or others into receiving a mandatory mental health evaluation. A Baker Act is typically sought when a person refuses a voluntary evaluation but appears to be mentally unstable. It is not uncommon for individuals with mental illnesses to not be aware of how severe or destructive their situation or condition may be. This is why The Baker Act was designed to be helpful since it gets individuals to receive the examination they need.
However, The Baker Act of Florida can occur voluntarily too. It is considered voluntary when an individual who is 18 years or older requests for admission to be under observation or assed at a facility. Likewise, this also applies to the parents and guardians of children 17 years old or younger.
Why Other States May Consider The Baker Act
The Baker Act was designed to help individuals suffering from mental illness, but it can also help those who may be suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. This can be particularly helpful, not only to Florida residents but also to individuals throughout the nation, especially now that The Opioid Epidemic has taken a widespread toll. The reality is that some alcoholics and addicts may reject an intervention and disagree with seeking treatment for addiction. In these cases, The Baker Act may help push addicts and alcoholics to get the help they desperately need.
If other states could pass the same act or one that is comparable to Florida’s Baker Act, then many others may benefit from being able to have their loved ones receive the evaluation they need and lives could ultimately be helped and saved.
The backlash of The Baker Act is that some people feel it can be harmful to individuals who are not suffering from a mental health condition and yet are still obligated to receive an involuntary mental health assessment. The truth, however, is that there are guidelines for The Baker Act and these were created to prevent this act from being abused. Individuals that are “Baker-Acted” indicate or show they are a threat to themselves and/or others. A Baker Act can only be filed by law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, judges, and medical doctors. However, if you witness an individual threatening their own life or someone else’s, you can petition to the cause and file an affidavit at the town clerk’s office to seek an ex parte order for the involuntary assessment of the individual. The court will go over the documents and if the court agrees, the individual will be brought to a facility for an evaluation.
Seeking Help for Addiction When You Need It
Mental health conditions, including addiction, can be devastating. Someone who is suffering from addiction or another type of mental illness may not even be able to see how disastrous and concerning that their situation is. The Florida Baker Act can help individuals suffering from mental illness, including addiction, get an evaluation and be held for 72 hours, but it’s important to share that help is available and if you need it, you deserve to get the treatment you do need in order to live a healthy life. When it comes to addiction, nothing can seem scarier than asking for help, but it can lead to you getting your life back and being able to live free from the crutch of any substance.
The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs in Florida and Texas is a dual diagnosis facility with a full continuum of care for the treatment of drug addiction and alcoholism. Since 1998, we have helped over 55,000 alcoholics and addicts. Our team of medical doctors and addiction professionals are committed to restoring lives and providing the necessary care to treat the root cause of addiction. You don’t have to keep staying stuck in active addiction. You can live a life without using substances, but you will need to ask for help in order to get there. The Watershed can and wants to help. Call The Watershed at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, florida baker act, mental health, mental health illness, mental illness