Long-Term Involuntary Commitment Laws

Long-term involuntary commitment laws permit psychiatric facilities to accept a patient for an extended amount of time, without the patient’s consent, if they are displaying dangerous symptoms of a mental illness. Generally, long-term involuntary commitment proceedings may be initiated when an individual poses a danger to himself or others as a result of mental illness, is gravely disabled, or is unable to meet their basic needs.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws regulating long-term involuntary commitment. State laws vary on the duration of commitment, the rights that must be provided to a committed patient, and the subsequent limitations, if any, on a patient’s right to possess a firearm under state gun laws. 

John P. Petrila, JD, LLM and Jeffrey W. Swanson, PhD, MA contributed to this dataset as subject matter experts.

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