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Baker Act

Baker Act

Florida Statute chapter 394.463 mental health relates to the authorization of police, physicians, mental health professionals and the courts to dictate certain medical care for persons who pose a threat to themselves or to others.

Chapter 394 of the Florida Statutes is known as "The Baker Act" and as "The Florida Mental Health Act". A Baker Act proceeding is a means of providing an individual with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.

Voluntary vs. Involuntary Commitment

A voluntary Baker Act is when a person 18 years or older, or a parent/guardian of a person age 17 or under, checks themselves in for a psychiatric diagnosis or treatment.

An involuntary Baker Act is when the person suffering from mental health illness is checked into a mental health facility for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation. It is considered an involuntary situation because the person is mentally ill, and because of their mental illness, the person is unable to determine for themselves whether a psychiatric examination or treatment is needed or not. The facility has to take into consideration that without proper care or treatment, the person may cause serious bodily harm to themselves or others An involuntary Baker Act admission occurs upon a finding by a court that (1) a person is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, he/she has refused voluntary placement for treatment or is unable to determine whether placement is necessary; (2) he/she is incapable of living alone or with help, and without treatment is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for him/herself, or there is a substantial likelihood in the near future that he/she will inflict serious bodily harm on him/herself/others as evidenced by recent behavior; and (3) all less restrictive treatment alternatives are not appropriate.

In the pre-hospital setting a voluntary baker act must be escorted with a police office, after (if) EMS makes patient contact.

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