Balancing The Argument Against Civil Commitment Laws

Patient (Photo credit: Kimberly Mahr)

While surfing the web I read an article about the “uncivil” nature of civil commitment laws.  Civil commitment is the legal process by which an individual with a severe mental illness can be involuntarily committed to a hospital for treatment. Arguments against this action dates back to the mid-1950s when civil rights attorneys fought to reduce inpatient care. The detrimental consequences of this argument is noticeable in the increase in homelessness, victimization, crime, incarceration, and suicide.


Enhanced civil commitment laws aim for stabilization. But promoters of civil rights standards aim to influence families to believe independence will be reduced with civil commitment. The opposite is actually the truth.


Civil commitment laws provide greater autonomy for the individual with a severe or untreated mental illness. By offering treatment that controls or balances symptoms that reduce independence, hospitalization is a safe haven. The incivility is not  present in civil commitment laws, but is present when vulnerable individuals are left homeless, incarcerated, murdered, or perpetrators of crime.

Recent stories of failing commitment laws across the nation have been shared  with families continuing to ask for reform. Rarely do we hear outcry against better commitment laws. This is proof the need for change is great.


Read more at my site: Caregivers, Family, & Friends