In 1982, Kentucky passed the Kentucky Mental Health Hospitalization Act to address the sensitive issue of involuntary hospitalization. Involuntary hospitalization refers to the admittance of an individual to a hospital or psychiatric care facility against his or her will.
An individual suffering from mental illness can be involuntarily hospitalized if:
- He or she presents a danger or threat of danger to self, family or others resulting from mental illness
- He or she can reasonably benefit from treatment AND
- Hospitalization is the least restrictive means of treatment presently available
A person is considered “mentally ill” if he or she has serious problems with self control, judgment or discretion in their personal affairs and social relations due to physiological, psychological or social factors.
“Danger” means actual or the threat of serious physical harm to self, family, or others. This include any action that deprives self, family or others of the basic necessities (i.e. food, shelter, or clothing).
“Least restrictive means” indicates that the required treatment will provide a realistic opportunity to improve the mentally ill person’s level of functioning in the least confining setting possible under the circumstances.
Initiated when a qualified medical professional, police officer, County or Commonwealth Attorney, spouse, relative, friend, guardian or other interested person files a petition for involuntary hospitalization of a mentally ill individual.
- An individual subject to temporary commitment is entitled to a hearing.
- The court will determine if probable cause exists to order involuntary hospitalization.