The Use And Abuse Of Involuntary Commitment

2417 WordsMay 10, 201610 Pages
Lost in The Madhouse: The use and abuse of involuntary commitment Throughout the ages, the idea of involuntary hospitalization has always had its supporters and its detractors. Many people have long debated the ethics of forcing treatment on patients that cannot always make the best decisions for themselves. Involuntary commitment is now a very hot topic, especially in a state like Florida, where their Baker Act and Marchman Act laws are greatly debated on their usefulness versus their harmfulness. The Baker Act, enacted in 1971, is Florida’s main mental health law, which allows for the voluntary and involuntary commitment of mentally ill patients who are believed to be a threat to themselves or others. Many have highlighted key issues…show more content…
However, I also agree that with the proper criteria and a set form of checks and balances these laws can work properly to assist those in dire need of mental health services. Civil Commitment is the act of admitting individuals involuntarily into mental health facilities made to hold and confine patients which are considered threats to themselves and others. Today there are a couple of major reasons under which someone would be involuntarily committed into a mental institution. These include, but are not limited to, the following; mental illness, developmental disability, and in some states, substance abuse and addiction. Every state has its own laws and criteria that officials must adhere to before committing an individual. Depending on the state in which one resides, the criteria may vary. The history of involuntary commitment in the United States tells the tale of a long time of pain and suffering for many Americans and their families. History of Involuntary Care The 1800’s were a terrible time for people suffering from mental illnesses. They were treated like monsters and criminals. Most families could not financially support to watch over their afflicted family members. By the 1840s a teacher and writer by the name of Dorothea Dix began to fight for the reform of mental health. She believed that the mentally ill deserved better treatment than what they were receiving. She documented the atrocities she
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