The Baker Act statute is NOT a treatment statute
Hello everyone. Its Mark. And welcome back. In this video I want to talk to you about using the Baker Act to get your loved one treatment. Or should I say don’t use the Baker Act to get your loved one treatment.
So I get lots of calls, would think at least two a day where people are calling up and they want to Baker Act a loved one. And when I asked them why, what they tell me just about every time is they’re looking to get their loved one some treatment. It could be treatment for substance use such as things like alcohol and marijuana. It could be helped because their loved one is suffering from a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression. And they say I want to Baker Act my loved one.
And I say to them, well, what are you going to do when one of two things happened? Either your loved one is released after 72 hours or worse they get stuck there and there’s sort of this pregnant pause as if they really didn’t know what was about to happen. And what I indicated to them was that the Baker Act statute is not designed for treatment. It is a statute that allows the state of Florida to take custody of your loved one only when there is an emergency situation caused by some type of mental illness that is rendering your loved one unable to make what you and I would consider as objectively reasonable decisions. And as a result of that, they either pose an immediate danger to themselves and or somebody else.
So it is not a treatment statute, but it is a statute that allows the state of Florida to take custody of your loved one. So if you are dealing with a true emergency, then obviously what you should be doing is calling 911. And if law enforcement, the police, come to the scene and they decide if your loved one should be Baker Acted, then they can initiate the Baker Act. The statute. Chapter 394, which is the Baker Act statute, authorizes the police to Baker Act individuals.
It also authorizes the emergency room doctor to Baker Act an individual. And so if you’re looking to get your loved one help, I would implore you not to Baker Act them. I’m going to digress a second and tell you a story where I had an individual who was told or advised that if his wife needed treatment, he should go to the courthouse and file a petition to get a pickup order under the Baker Act, which you can do. And obviously my mindset was, well, if it’s that much of an emergency, first of all you should be calling 911. If you have time to go to the courthouse and file a petition, then maybe it’s not such an emergency.
Well, he went to the courthouse, he filed his request for a pick up order under the Baker Act. The police came down, they executed the judge’s order and then his loved one. His wife got stuck at the facility. She couldn’t get out. The state didn’t want to let her go.
Now, the Baker Act seems to be authorized to act as an agent of the state, and they didn’t want to let her go. Now, I’ve talked about the abuse of the Baker Act in lots of other videos, but primarily, if you go there and you have health insurance, that is a bit of a target on your back, and it makes the facilities the bad ones, because not all of them are bad. Some of them are good, but the bad ones will abuse it and take advantage of the fact that this is a money making situation for them and they will detain your loved one. So if you are looking to get your loved one help, please don’t Baker Act them, okay? And if it is an emergency, call 911 and let the police make the decision as to whether or not they should be Baker Act or emergency doctor made the decision.
But if you go to the courthouse and you go get a quarter or to Baker Act at your loved one. You’re almost certainly going to call me crying. Because either your loved ones getting out in 72 hours. Which doesn’t help the situation at all. Or even earlier than 72 hours.
Or the state is going to file a petition to keep them. And then you have no control over the situation. Your loved one becomes a ward of the state. They can get sent to a statemental institution for six months, and I’m sure that’s not what you wanted. There are other avenues, such as Marchman Act and guardianship, things that we can help you with.
You can even do an intervention if you wanted to. Again, there are so many different ways of doing this. But please, unless it’s a 19 emergency, don’t bake your actual love one because it’s not a treatment statue. Anyway, with that said, see you in the next video.