IVC Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be committed?

  • Any person who is alleged to be severely mentally ill and because of that condition immediate intervention is necessary for the protection from physical harm to self or others or due to chronic disability and that the person needs and is likely to benefit from treatment may be committed.
  • A Petition for Emergency Commitment must be filled out by someone over 18, who has personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the need for commitment.

How is the petition completed?

  • The petition must include a statement, based on actual knowledge, that because of severe mental illness, the individual is a danger to themselves and others. Also, the specific nature of the danger and a summary of the information the statement of danger is based upon. There must also be a statement of facts which caused the petitioner to become aware of the situation. The petition must include the petitioners information, including address, signature, and interest in the case. Finally, the information of the person to be committed must be included- their name, address, age, marital status, occupation, and contact information for their nearest relative.
  • The state's attorney or someone designated by the board of county commissioners can assist with completing the petition.
  • The petition must be submitted to the chair of the County Board of Mental Illness in the county the mentally ill person is found within 24 hours of apprehension of the individual.

What happens after the petition is completed?

  • The chair of the county board of mental illness may order the apprehension and transportation if probable cause exists. A chairperson will issue an Emergency Order for Detention. The individual is transported to an appropriate regional facility or the Human Services Center.
  • The individual is given notice of the right contact someone of their choosing, the right to obtain legal counsel, the right to be examined by a mental health professional, and the right to an independent examination and hearing within 5-7 days.

When happens after the mentally ill person is taken into custody?

What happens at the involuntary commitment hearing?

  • A qualified mental health professional gives testimony regarding appropriate treatment alternatives. The testimony must provide the least restrictive treatment alternative available.
  • A person may be ordered to commitment for no longer than 90 days if the individual meets the criteria for a mentally ill individual, they are likely to benefit from the proposed treatment and commitment is the least restrictive alternative. If those findings are not made, the person is released.

What happens if the individual is committed?

  • After being committed, the individual receives the treatment proposed and ordered at the involuntary commitment hearing.
  • Within 90 days of commitment, a review hearing is held to determine whether the person still meets the criteria of a mentally ill individual. Notice of the hearing will be provided to the individual and their counsel at least 10 days before the hearing.
  • Up to an additional 6 months of commitment may be ordered at the hearing.
  • If more time is needed for treatment, an additional 6 months may be ordered.
  • If still more time is needed, up to a year may be ordered, with reviews occurring annually after that time.
  • If at any of the hearings it is determined that continued commitment is not necessary, the person is discharged.

What happens after the individual is discharged?

  • After successful completion of treatment, an individual is discharged from care.
  • An outpatient commitment or treatment order may be put into place.
  • If the individual fails to comply with the outpatient commitment or treatment order and the physician or treatment staff believes the person may be a danger to themselves or others, law enforcement may be contacted to intervene.
  • A supplemental hearing or alternative disposition may be held if the individual fails to comply with the outpatient commitment or treatment order and there is a significant risk of deterioration in that person's condition.