Maryland pushing for new outpatient civil commitment law
December 12, 2014
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has outlined legislation that could ease Anne Arundel County’s mental health needs.
The DHMH report, released Wednesday, has a proposal for an outpatient civil commitment law that would allow judges to order individuals with dangerous mental illness to undergo treatment while remaining in the community.
Maryland is one of five states that doesn’t already have such a law, although states apply these laws in varying ways.
“It is very important for people with mental illness to recover and live productive lives,” said DHMH secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein. “We are talking about a critical missing component in Maryland law that needs to be fixed in order to support certain people in Maryland getting the services they need.”
“Groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness have said more hospital beds are needed for the treatment of serious mental illnesses, and also for voluntary services such as counseling… But the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Mental Health Association of Maryland and On Our Own of Maryland submitted a response to the DHMH report in which they criticized the drive for civil commitment.”