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Involuntary Commitment

ICP staff work with individuals and agencies to determine when involuntary commitment is necessary, and to protect the civil rights and due process for individuals.

Our certified mental health investigators look into requests for involuntary commitment to psychiatric care (such as 2-Party Petitions and Hospital Holds).  They testify at commitment hearings held on-site at the hospital, and also work with our intensive case managers, hospital social workers, individuals, and their families to formulate sound hospital discharge plans.

The investigator’s job is to ensure due process for individuals placed on a hospital hold, to make certain that their civil rights are not suspended wrongfully or for any longer than necessary.  The law governing this process is designed to assure that treatment is offered during the hospital hold period while protecting the individual’s civil rights.

Oregon Revised Statutes pertaining to commitment in Oregon.

Hours

Open 8am to 6pm Monday through Friday (closed on federal holidays and court furlough days)

Contact

Call 503-655-8585 and ask to speak with a mental health investigator.

Frequently Asked Questions about Involuntary Commitment 

What if I know someone who needs services, but refuses to ask for them?

What should I do if I know someone who is thinking about suicide?

What is the legal basis for involuntary commitment?

Does the involuntary commitment law apply to all mentally or emotionally disturbed persons?

Is it possible for a person to get help without going through the commitment process?

What are the steps in the civil commitment process?

How long will the commitment last and where will the committed person receive treatment?

What if I know someone who needs services, but refuses to ask for them?

Involuntary treatment may only be provided under a court order (civil commitment or guardianship). Contact CCBH Involuntary Commitment Program at 503-655-8585 for further information. return to FAQ

What should I do if I know someone who is thinking about suicide?

The first thing to do is ask them if this is true. Contrary to common belief, you will not "plant" the idea of suicide in the mind of someone who is not already considering it. Generally, the person is relieved that someone is willing to talk about the subject with them.

The second thing to do is to suggest and assist them in seeking professional help. Consultation and evaluation are available on a 24-hour basis via the CCBH Crisis Line at 503-655-8585.

The third thing to do, in the event that the person refuses to seek help, is to seek assistance and consultation. If the threat of harm is immediate, call 911. Otherwise, you may call the Crisis Line to seek consultation and information regarding involuntary treatment.

The CCBH Crisis Program is now offering Mental Health First Aid training. Among other benefits, MHFA makes people feel more comfortable managing a mental health crisis situation. return to FAQ

What is the legal basis for involuntary commitment?

The current Oregon law regarding involuntary commitment of mentally ill persons (Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 426) went into effect January 1, 1988. This law is designed to ensure that mental health treatment is provided to the mentally ill person, even when that person will not accept treatment voluntarily. Safeguards to guarantee the rights of the person being committed are built into every step in the process. return to FAQ

Does the involuntary commitment law apply to all mentally or emotionally disturbed persons?

No. This law applies only to people who, because of their mental disorder, are dangerous to themselves or others, or are unable to care for their basic needs and are not receiving the care that is necessary for their health and safety. return to FAQ

Is it possible for a person to get help without going through the commitment process?

Yes. When a person is willing and able, voluntary treatment is always encouraged. A person can seek treatment through Clackamas County Behavioral Health Center (503-655-8401), a private therapist or a private hospital in their community. return to FAQ

What are the steps in the civil commitment process?

There are five major steps in the commitment process:

Family members, friends or acquaintances who seek commitment of a person living in Clackamas County should contact the Mental Health Involuntary Commitment Program (Phone 503-655-8585), where they will be interviewed by a staff member.

If it appears from the interview that a commitment may be necessary, two persons will be asked to sign a petition for commitment. The two petitioners can be family members, friends or acquaintances who have recent, first-hand knowledge of the allegedly mentally ill person's behavior.

A pre-commitment investigation will then be conducted by the Mental Health Commitment staff. The staff person will interview the allegedly mentally ill person at home or in some other familiar setting, if possible. If the person appears to be dangerous to self/others, or unable to care for basic needs because of a mental disorder, a commitment hearing will be recommended. The allegedly mentally ill person will receive a copy of the investigator's report before the hearing. If the person is dangerous and needs immediate attention, she/he may be detained at a hospital on a Warrant of Detention until the commitment hearing.

The commitment hearing is presided over by a Clackamas County Circuit Court Judge who is advised by two independent examiners (a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other trained mental health professional). The judge and examiners will question the allegedly mentally ill person with the two petitioners and other witnesses present. The allegedly mentally ill person has a right to subpoena and cross-examine witnesses.

At the end of the hearing, the judge can decide:

  • That the person does not meet the legal criteria for commitment and to release the person and dismiss the case.
  • That the person meets commitment criteria but to conditionally release the person to the custody of a responsible relative or interested party who is willing to care for the person. The judge may impose specific conditions which must be met by the person in order to stay in the community.
  • That the person meets commitment criteria and to involuntarily commit the person for psychiatric treatment. return to FAQ

How long will the commitment last and where will the committed person receive treatment?

The maximum amount of time a person can be committed is 180 days. A committed person will not necessarily have to be kept in a hospital for the length of the commitment. Under the current law, the person is committed to the Oregon State Mental Health Division, rather than to a specific hospital. This allows a variety of treatment resources, such as: Oregon State Hospital, community hospital, Veteran's Hospital, day treatment program, residential care facility, outpatient clinic or private therapist. return to FAQ

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