Mental Health

The Baker Act and Marchman Act are means of providing individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for examination for mental health assessment and stabilization for substance abuse. These types of proceedings are confidential and are not public record.

Completing a Petition for Involuntary Examination or Involuntary Assessment & Stabilization

A petition must be filed and submitted to the Clerk of Court in the county where the Respondent is located.   The petitions can be filed by the respondent’s spouse or guardian, any relative, a private practitioner, the director of a licensed service provider or the director’s designee, or any three adults who have personal knowledge of the respondent’s substance abuse impairment.  If the person upon whose behalf the petition is being filed is a minor, a petition for involuntary assessment and stabilization may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or licensed service provider.  The Clerk will submit the petition to a Judge for review.

Baker Act (mental health)

A process established by Florida Statutes Mental Health Act by which a person whose current mental state poses a danger to that person or to others may be taken to a mental health receiving facility for an involuntary examination.  If there is reason to believe that a person is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness based on the criteria below:

  • The person has refused voluntary examination and/or is unable to determine whether an examination is necessary
  • The person is likely to suffer from neglect and the refusal could threaten his or her well being
  • If there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause seriously bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior

then the Court should be petitioned for involuntary examination of the person.

For more information on the Baker Act, please view services provided by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Marchman Act (substance abuse)  

A process established by Florida Statutes by which a person may be admitted for an involuntary examination to determine if his or her judgment is impaired due to substance abuse and he or she has, therefore, lost the power of self-control with respect to substance abuse and poses a danger to himself or herself or to another person.  When there is reason to believe that a person is substance abuse impaired and are exhibiting any of the symptoms below:

  • Because of the impairment, he or she has lost the power of self control with respect to substance use
  • The person’s judgment is impaired because of substance abuse and he/she is incapable of appreciating the need for, and is unable to make a rational decision in regards to, substance abuse services
  • He or she has inflicted, attempted or threatened to inflict, or unless admitted, is likely to inflict, physical harm on himself or herself or another

then the Court should be petitioned for involuntary assessment of the person.