Frequently Asked Questions: Mental Health (Part 1)
Oakland County, MichiganCourtsProbate CourtFrequently Asked Questions: Mental Health (Part 1)

Frequently Asked Questions: Mental Health (Part 1)

Do I have to be a relative to get someone committed to the hospital?

No. Any adult (18+ years) who has witnessed behavior within the last 14 days indicative of a person requiring treatment for mental illness may file a petition with the court.


What does the court require to take a person to Common Ground for evaluation?

The person must be mentally ill: A substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or the ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life, and the person must have exhibited suicidal or homicidal behavior in the last 14 days.


How do I file the petition?

You go to the Probate Court of the county where the alleged mentally ill person resides (or in some cases where they are found) to file the petition. You will be required to present testimony to the judge about the persons actions of the last two weeks (14 days). If the judge issues the Order for Transport and Examination, you will receive a sealed copy of the order to give to the police and ambulance driver who will transport the person to Common Ground at 461 W. Huron, Pontiac, MI  48341.


Is it possible to commit a person who is addicted to drugs/alcohol?

No. Drug and/or alcohol addiction does not constitute sufficient reason for commitment under the Mental Health Code. The person must be exhibiting behavior as defined by Michigan statute for the mentally ill while not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For individuals needing treatment for drug or alcohol issues, and who are on Medicaid or have no insurance and live in Oakland County, contact PACE at 248-858-5200.


What happens when the person gets to Common Ground?

A doctor will examine the person. It takes two doctors, one of whom must be a psychiatrist, to certify that the person is mentally ill and requires hospitalization. If a doctor feels the person is in need of inpatient treatment, Common Ground will transport the person to a local hospital for another evaluation (by a psychiatrist-MD). If the psychiatrist certifies that the person is in need of hospitalization, two physician certifications and a petition are forwarded to the court. Once certification is done, the hospital sends the physicians certificates to the court, and a hearing date is set within seven (7) days. An attorney is appointed for the person. The person remains hospitalized until the hearing occurs.


Can the family doctor help in getting someone into a mental hospital?

Yes. If you can get the person to see a physician, the family doctor can complete one of the physician's certificates necessary to commit.  You may fill out a petition at the doctor's office. That petition combined with the completed physician's certificate acts the same as a court order to have the mentally ill person transported against his/her will to Common Ground.  Common Ground is the liaison service/crisis center for Oakland County located at 461 W. Huron, Pontiac, MI @ 248-456-1991.


Can I just call the police if a person is mentally ill and acting out to have the police transport that person to the hospital?

The police can transport the person for an evaluation only if they witness the person's actions that would conform with the requirements of the Mental Health law. Most often, the police will want you to go to the court and obtain an Order for Transport. Supplemental Petition for Examination/Hospitalization and Order PC 209a.


What hospitals are available in the area for involuntary mental patients?

St. John-Oakland Hospital, Havenwyck Hospital, Kingswood Hospital, St. Joseph-Mercy Hospital, Doctors Hospital, POH Medical Center, and Crittenton Hospital are some of the local hospitals which house involuntary mentally ill patients.  Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills has a specialized unit for geriatric patients who are mentally ill and 55 years of age or older.


How can I get a person who is mentally ill and in jail to a hospital?

You will need to talk with a caseworker or psychiatrist from Program Services/Counseling at 248-858-1731 at the Oakland County Jail about the person's history of mental health problems. The psychiatrist at the Oakland County Jail may request that you complete a petition, and the psychiatrist may complete the necessary medical certification.


Is a finding of "mentally ill and requiring treatment" the same as being incompetent?

No, a finding by the court that a person requires treatment or admission to a hospital by court order does not constitute a legal incompetency.


How can a minor who refuses treatment be hospitalized?

The minor's parent or legal guardian must make the request for hospitalization and the minor must be found to be suitable for hospitalization. The minor must be emotionally disturbed and present a serious danger to him/herself or others. Transport may be made by a peace officer with an order of the court if the criteria have been met and after testimony to the judge.


Can I voluntarily admit myself to a hospital for mental illness?

Yes. A person can be admitted to a hospital on an "informal" voluntary basis or a "formal" voluntary basis.  An "informal" voluntary process requires the person over the age of 18 to request treatment. The process can normally be done without the formal execution of any admission papers. A "formal" voluntary patient will execute an application for hospitalization and may be admitted if the director of the hospital determines that he/she is suitable for hospitalization.