When someone who is mentally ill does not wish to seek treatment, or someone wishes to terminate treatment against medical advice, they may find themselves in court, going through a process designed to provide treatment pursuant to a court order. The Court may order that the person be committed to a suitable treatment facility. The length of the Order for Treatment will not exceed one year and the patient is entitled to a period of mandatory local treatment for at least 25 days at one of several mental health treatment agencies. Before this can happen however, the Court must find that the person, as a result of a mental disorder, meets at least one of the following four criteria:
If the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient is suffering a mental disorder and meets one or more of the four criteria, the Court will enter an Order for Treatment. The length and terms will vary. At the expiration of the court-ordered treatment, the patient may be unconditionally released by the treating agency. If further in-patient treatment is indicated, the patient must be re-petitioned and the process outlined above is repeated. Due to the chronic nature of many mental illnesses, patients do not always stay in treatment or even get better. Such is the "revolving door" stereotype of the mental health treatment system.