This is Florida’s Mental Health Act which states “The Baker Act encourages the voluntary admission of persons for psychiatric care, but only when they are able to understand the decision and its consequences and are able to fully exercise their rights for themselves. When this is not possible due to the severity of the person’s condition, the Baker Act allows for involuntary examination (what some call emergency or involuntary commitment). It can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person:
* has a mental illness (as defined in the Baker Act).
* is a harm to self, harm to others, or self neglectful/SUICIDAL (as defined in the Baker Act).
Examinations may last up to 72 hours (3 days) after a person is deemed medically stable and occur in over 100 Florida Department of Children and Families-designated receiving facilities statewide.
There are many possible outcomes following examination of the patient. Including: the release of the individual to the community (or other community placement); a petition for involuntary inpatient placement (what some call civil commitment); involuntary outpatient placement (what some call outpatient commitment or assisted treatment orders); or voluntary treatment (if the person is competent to consent to voluntary treatment and consents to voluntary treatment). The involuntary outpatient placement language in the Baker Act took effect in 2005.
Department of Children and Families Baker Act Information