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Michigan law limits the circumstances in which an adult or a child may be involuntarily committed.  In order for a person to be involuntarily hospitalized, they must meet the Michigan Mental Health Code definition of a “person requiring treatment.”  A person may be seriously mentally ill – and still not fit within that definition.  For a minor, involuntary hospitalization can occur if the minor presents a serious danger to self or others to the extent that severe or irremediable injury is likely to result, or is experiencing a serious deterioration of his/her ability to care for self.

Many counties, including Oakland County, Michigan, allow the use of “Clinical Certificates” for Involuntary Mental Health Admissions.  This form allows certain individuals to directly send patients to a Mental Health Facility – against his/her will – for a specified period of time.  This “Clinical Certificate” essentially a Physician Order, must be filled out by either a: Licensed Physician; a Licensed Psychiatrist or a Licensed Psychologist.  The form requires detailed information about “why” and a recitation of the factual basis for such an involuntary admission request.

Obviously, the bar should be “high” before someone’s freedom is taken away.  When physicians violate Michigan law, by not following Michigan’s Mental Health Code, and make substandard, erroneous or obviously wrong decisions about when to commit patients to mental health facilities, they can (and should) be held responsible by the civil justice system.

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