Who Can Initiate A Baker Act In Florida?

If your hometown is in Florida, you might have become familiar with the Baker Act that was passed in 1972, where it was also known to be the first bill of rights of the state for people that suffer violent tendencies from mental illnesses.

It’s an approach to de-escalate a mental health crisis by confirming if an individual has a mental illness or even went as far as determining if the individual should be considered a danger to themselves and the others within a specified timeframe.

Which people are authorized to apply the Baker Act?

A mental evaluation will be performed on an individual that has been involuntarily admitted to the facility by the cops, the court, or the mental health professionals themselves.

The process begins with a 72-hour psychological examination, where two mental health professionals would identify if the person is liable to become a danger to society. However, a tunnel of light is available for the diagnosed patients with mental illnesses who don’t require a strict 24/7 observation through the means of providing outpatient mental health treatments instead.

If they are found to be harmless, they would be released after the 72 hours timeframe.

What are its criteria?

Before requesting a Baker Act on an individual, an authorized person should first detail the qualifications of the individual to be constituted with the Baker Act.

The person in authority would be required to provide a written statement at the Clerk of Court office regarding the reason behind the petition for a Baker Act. And this could be any of the following:

  • The person is seen as a threat to themselves and others or is considered incapable of taking care of their own needs.
  • A ground that the individual suffers from a mental illness
  • The person declined a voluntary admission to the facility to undergo a mental health evaluation. Or they couldn’t comprehend the necessity of doing one.

Do you know that you could give your consent to undergo a Baker Act?

It is possible that a person who could request a Baker Act and volunteer to admit themselves in a facility if they’ve noticed any of the following mental emergencies:

The feeling of hopelessness or depression

People who potentially suffer from depression typically experience a strong sense of melancholy and hopelessness. As a result, it contributes to their lack of will to take care of their needs and function in general. 

To prevent further effects, individuals may choose to put themselves in an intervention by requesting Baker Acted to receive the necessary treatment options.

Constant hallucinations

Hallucinations are signs that a person has been losing touch with their consciousness for a while now and may include encouragement of self-harm and violent acts against others.

Some aggravated cases have also reported that patients are projected with certain situations that flash before their eyes, which triggers their aggressive reactions either of fear or intense anger.

Recurring suicidal thoughts 

Suicidal thoughts are commonly associated with depressed people, and a solid argument to warrant a Baker Act to oneself, especially if the person is well-aware of the weapons they could access or has had a history of several attempts of suicide.

Involvement with substance abuse

Substance abuse messes up with the body’s performance. It also has some alterations in mind, so it’s expected that people who had any involvement with illegal drugs increased their risk of becoming violent.

Inability to care for one’s self

As a child, we were taught the basic things we need to do to survive. Yet, the inability to uphold hygiene, eat, drink, sleep, keep our surroundings clean, and refuse to take the prescribed medications could indicate a deeper problem.

In this way, the professionals would have to conduct the mental health evaluation to help them stand up on their own feet again.

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