Short-Term Emergency Commitment Laws

Under short-term emergency commitment, psychiatric facilities may accept patients for a predetermined amount of time without their consent if they are displaying dangerous symptoms of a mental illness. Generally, emergency commitment may be employed when someone is considered a danger to themselves or others while suffering from a mental illness, when they are gravely disabled or when they are unable to meet their basic needs. Every state has laws regulating short-term emergency commitment. These laws vary on how a person may be committed, the duration of the commitment, the rights that must be provided to a committed person, and whether the commitment will limit an individual’s right to possess a firearm under state gun laws.   

This dataset captures laws in effect from October 1, 2014 through February 1, 2016. 

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

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