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Pennsylvania State Law provides for a variety of court ordered involuntary assessment, commitment, and treatment solutions for substance abuse and mental health disorders on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Section 302 Pennsylvania is an example of an order to initiate an involuntary mental health assessment in the State of Pennsylvania.
302 Involuntary Commitment Order Pennsylvania
An involuntary commitment is an application for emergency evaluation and treatment for persons who are “dangerous” to themselves or others due to a mental illness. Dangerousness is determined based on the following criteria:
- Danger to self shall be shown by establishing that within the previous 30 days:
- the person would be unable without the care, supervision and assistance of others to satisfy his/her need for nourishment, personal or medical care, shelter or self protection or safety and that death or serious physical debilitation would occur within 30 days unless treatment was provided;
- the person has attempted suicide or the person has made threats to commit suicide and committed acts in furtherance of the threats; or
- the person has mutilated himself/herself or the person has made threats to mutilate and committed acts in furtherance of the threats.
Danger to others shall be shown by establishing that within the previous 30 days the person has inflicted or attempted to inflict serious bodily harm on another or has threatened serious bodily harm and has committed acts in furtherance of the threat to commit harm to another.
Because this commitment is involuntary it may require the assistance of family, crisis professionals, police, ambulance and any other person involved in the crisis.
In every 302, a petitioner is required to sign the 302 and appear at a hearing, if necessary. A petitioner must have first-hand knowledge of the dangerous conduct and be willing to go to an emergency room or the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), located at One Smithfield Street, to sign the 302 form.
The petitioner may be required to testify at a hearing regarding the dangerous conduct that he or she witnessed. A police officer or a doctor has the authority to initiate a 302 without prior authorization from the OBH delegate. The OBH delegate can be reached by calling 412-350-4457.
Once a 302 is authorized, the individual will be taken to an emergency room by the police or ambulance for an evaluation by a physician to determine if they need to be admitted for involuntary psychiatric inpatient treatment. If the individual is admitted they may be kept no longer than 120 hours unless a petition for a 303, Extended Emergency Involuntary Treatment, is filed by the hospital.
State laws are in place to support court ordered involuntary treatment, nevertheless, careful planning with a unified approach is essential for successfully using the laws to significantly increase the long term prognosis for your loved one’s recovery. Although CarePlanPro does not provide legal advice, we do provide professional services to support the recovery process including secure transport, intervention, recovery companion, and comprehensive care management and we work with likeminded professional attorneys throughout the State of Pennsylvania and across the country.
For a confidential and caring assessment of your individual case,
call CarePlanPro toll-free 24/7: 866-547-6237