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Involuntary Treatment


Some situations are where families, supporters, and others are alarmed by a person’s acute symptoms which seem to be a serious emergency.  This could happen at home, other residences, at a service facility, or on the streets. If the person does not believe it is serious and refuses to get help, who can get a "hold and treat" for involuntary mental health treatment?

  • Police
  • Physician (M.D.)
  • Licensed psychologist
  • Registered nurse (R.N.)
  • Licensed clinical social worker
  • Licensed counselor or marriage and family therapist with special training
  • National Park Ranger

The law provides two types of Holds for Involuntary Treatment:

  1. 72-hour Hold and Treat - This enables a person to be held involuntarily for a period of 72 hours, or three days, for evaluation and treatment.
  2. Five Day Alcohol Hold - If alcohol use/abuse is involved, the person can be held for five days at a detox center for detoxification and evaluation.

Can family members get a "hold and treat"?

 A family member can go to the probate court to ask for a hold. Sometimes when the police are called, the symptoms are not apparent in a brief evaluation. The police leave and the person is unwilling to go to a professional for help.  Family members may petition the civil court system to order an evaluation.


When a physician requests a court order for involuntary treatment, the process is called a Certification.

  • Short Term Certification is for three months and can be extended for an additional three months.
  • Long Term Certification is for six months and can be extended for six month intervals.

The person who is certified has the legal right to contest the certification through a court hearing