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 that definition.
Here is the definition of a person requiring treatment according to the Michigan Mental Health Code:
- An individual who has mental illness and who as a result of that mental illness can reasonably be expected within the near future to intentionally or unintentionally seriously physically injure himself or another individual, and who has engaged in an act or acts or made significant threats that are substantially supportive of the expectation.
- An individual who has mental illness, and who as a result of that mental illness is unable to attend to those of his or her basic physical needs such as food, clothing or shelter that must be attended to in order for the individual to avoid serious harm in the near future, and who has demonstrated that inability by failing to attend to those basic physical needs.
- An individual who has mental illness, whose judgment is so impaired that he or she is unable to understand his/her need for treatment and whose continued behavior as the result of this mental illness can reasonably be expected, on the basis of competent medical opinion, to result in significant physical harm to himself or herself or others. This individual shall receive involuntary mental health treatment initially only under the provisions of section 434 through 438 of this act.
(2) An individual whose mental processes have been weakened or impaired by a dementia, an individual with a primary diagnosis of epilepsy, or an individual with alcoholism or other drug dependence is not a person requiring treatment under this chapter unless the individual also meets the criteria specified in subsection (1).
As a family member of a struggling loved one you can use this section of the Michigan mental health code to save them. With the outlines of what constitutes mental illness deserving of involuntary commitment you can easily put your loved one into treatment when their life is on the line without them wanting to go. The process is a difficult one and may require you to testify about your loved one’s behavior in front of a judge but it may very well be worth it if your loved one has begun struggling to the point where you are considering involuntary commitment. The Michigan Mental Health Code is meant to protect your family member and you need to remember there is a chance even if you petition for the involuntary commitment they might not admit your family member. If this is the case, doing what you can for yourself and not enabling is paramount. Chances are though if you feel it is necessary to go through the process of involuntary committing your loved one; they need it. Trust in the fact that you are their family member and know them better than anyone else and have seen their behavior. You know what is bad enough. Trust your gut and do what is right.
If your loved one is struggling with addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.