Involuntary Mental Commitment
The Brookings County State’s Attorney’s Office assists in the commitment process of mentally ill persons by assisting the person that petitions for another person’s involuntary commitment to the Human Services Center. A person is subject to involuntary commitment if all of the following are present:
- The person has a severe mental illness
- Due to the severe mental illness, the person is a danger to self or others and
- The individual needs and is likely to benefit from treatment
How to Commit a Mentally Ill Person
An involuntary commitment of a person can take place when a person with knowledge of the current condition and/or recent events in a mentally ill person’s life fills out a petition asking that the mentally ill person be committed for treatment.
Taking the Mentally Ill Person into Custody
The petitioner is usually a family member, friend, police officer, social worker, counselor, doctor, or psychiatrist. The person asking for the commitment signs a document, called a petition, stating why they believe a person is mentally ill and needs to be committed. Once the paperwork is signed, law enforcement will take custody of the mentally ill person and take them to the Brookings Hospital for a 24-hour hold.
While the Mentally Ill Person is in Custody
During that hold, the mentally ill person is examined by a qualified mental health professional who makes the decision whether the mentally ill person should be released or committed for treatment. If the mentally ill person needs to be committed for treatment, the Chairperson of the Brookings County Board of Mental Illness orders that he / she be transported to the Human Services Center at Yankton, South Dakota, where a hearing takes place before the Yankton County Board of Mental Illness. If it is shown at the hearing that the mentally ill person meets the criteria stated above, then he / she is committed for treatment not to exceed 90 days.