There may come a time when the best treatment for your child or teen is in a psychiatric hospital. If your doctor or therapist recommends that your child goes into the hospital, and it is not a mental health emergency, there are several questions you should ask:
The prospect of a psychiatric hospitalization can be very traumatic for the entire family. Having the answers to some of these questions can help.
An involuntary hospitalization is a court order that orders a person to be hospitalized in an inpatient psychiatric facility. There are laws that regulate who and under what conditions a person can be committed to a hospital. In Colorado, an involuntary commitment may also be referred to as an M-1, or a 27 – 10. In order for a person to be involuntarily hospitalized, he or she must meet the Colorado Revised Statute, Article 10, Title 27 Care and Treatment of Mentally Ill definition of mentally ill. The statute defines someone as mentally ill if:
The person has a substantial disorder of cognitive, volitional or emotional processes that grossly impairs judgment or capacity to recognize reality or control behavior.
M-1 or Mental Health Hold
The actual Mental Health Hold (M-1) may be invoked when a person appears to be mentally ill and because of the mental illness, the person appears to be
In order to be classified as gravely disabled; a person has to meet one of the following two criteria:
Colorado law provides that anyone who is 15 or older may seek treatment, with or without the consent of his or her parent or legal guardian. However, the person who provides treatment may, with or without the consent of someone who is 15 or older, advise the parent or legal guardian of the services the child needs or the services given.
A child who is younger than 15 who is seeking voluntary hospitalization must have an independent interview. The independent interviewer, who must be a professional person, will interview the minor and do a careful investigation. This investigation includes talking with the parent or legal guardian, school, associated agencies and others. Based on these interviews, the professional must determine that the minor is mentally ill and needs to go into the hospital. The professional also must determine that placing the minor in a less restrictive treatment setting/program is inappropriate, unavailable and that hospitalization will be helpful.
If the child is a ward of the Department of Social Services, (DSS) the child must have a Guardian Ad Litem or a petition to appoint one must be filed with the court.
For a minor who is 15 or older, his parent or his legal guardian may make an application for voluntary hospitalization. A minor who is older than 15, who has his parents or legal guardian’s consent and who also has the recommendation of a professional person doesn’t need an independent interview for voluntary hospitalization but the minor has to be advised of his right to refuse to sign an admission consent and his right to revoke the consent later.