Civil commitments are legal proceedings that involve the action of a court in taking a person who is suffering from a severe mental illness and placing that person into a hospital or other place where the person can receive needed treatment. Civil commitment cases are filed in the Probate Court pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 5122 of the Revised Code.
A civil commitment case is opened when someone files an affidavit alleging that a person is mentally ill subject to hospitalization by court order. After the filing of such an affidavit the Probate Judge or one of the Probate Court Magistrates may issue a temporary order of detention ordering the person to be detained at a hospital until a hearing can be held, which hearing is normally held within 5 court days from the day the person is detained.
As used in these civil commitment proceedings, "mental Illness" means " a substantial disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, or memory that grossly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life."
OVERVIEW OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT PROCESS
If a person, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, needs treatment for it but refuses to go and/or stay in the hospital, the Probate Court can order the mentally ill person to receive such treatment. This procedure is called a civil commitment.
The court can order a mentally ill person to receive treatment only if the person meets certain criteria. Because of the person's mental illness one of the following four situations must exist: (1) the person must be presently dangerous to self, as shown by threats to, or attempts to commit suicide or to inflict serious harm to self; (2) the person must be presently dangerous to others, as shown by attempts to or threats to harm others; (3) the person must be unable to provide for their own basic physical needs; or (4) the person must be infringing on the substantial right of others or self.
If a person with mental illness has decompensated and fits into one of the four categories described above, it is recommended that a call be placed to the Butler Behaviorial Health Services, CCI unit. Butler County CCI stands for Crisis Consultation and Intervention and its phone number is (513) 881-7180. It is best to make arrangements with that office to come out and evaluate the mentally ill person who is having problems. If the mental health officer from CCI believes the person examined meets the proper criteria, the mental health officer, along with a special deputy, will take the person to one of the local hospitals for further examination, even if the mentally ill person does not agree to go.
The psychiatric unit at the hospital is allowed to hold the patient against their will for three (3) days while the staff evaluates the patient's condition. If the treating psychiatist believes the person needs court-ordered treatment, the hospial will begin the process to have the person treated under court order. As part of this process a family member or friend of the patient will be asked to come to the probate court to fill out an affidavit. This is a statement of how the person was acting and what lead up to them being hospitalized. A hearing will then be scheduled, and the person signing the affidavit will be required to come and testify.
Additional Numbers for Assistance:
Butler Behaviorial Health Services
Center for Forensic Psychiatry
Butler County Mental Health Board
Community Crisis Center 24-hour hotline
(513) 894-7002 Hamilton/Fairfield
(513) 523-4146 Oxford
(513) 424-5498 Middletown
Butler County Probate Court -Mental Desk