Mental health awareness continues to grow in the United States, and with that, more options for help and treatment become available. Luckily, in Arizona, there are laws that help the mentally ill get the treatment they need.
Arizona mental health and illness laws
In Arizona, people have the ability to keep potentially dangerous people from committing crimes that could hurt themselves and others. Because of a bill passed in 2014, if someone has a concern for someone else’s mental health, they can report it to police authorities who can then take them to a psychiatric facility for an involuntary evaluation.
Before the passage of this bill, officers had to personally observe statements of behaviors of the people believed to have a mental illness that poses a threat to themselves or others in order to take them into custody.
Being able to take people into custody for a mental health crisis will offer them the help they need at a psychiatric facility rather than jail. There they are stabilized and referred to a future treatment program. And if the psychiatrist finds that the person is not a threat to themselves or others they will be released.
Taking people into get psychiatric treatment could potentially prevent them from committing serious crimes and keep others around from getting hurt. It also could have prevented some serious tragedies from even happening.
Arizona also allows people who fear for the mental health of someone else to submit them for civil commitment which will determine if someone who is unwilling or unable to accept voluntary treatment should be ordered to receive treatment. An application for civil commitment can be submitted if the person of concern meets one of the following guidelines:
- Is a danger to themselves
- Is a danger to others
- Is gravely disabled (unable to take care of one’s basic physical needs)
- Is persistently or acutely disabled (likely to suffer severe mental or physical harm because of impaired judgment caused by a mental health condition)