Helping a loved one who is experiencing a severe mental illness, especially someone who may not realize they are sick, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. For some, it may mean the difference between life and tragedy. ~ Treatment Advocacy Center
Like every state, Tennessee has civil commitment laws that establish criteria for determining when involuntary treatment is appropriate for individuals with severe mental illness who cannot seek care voluntarily. Tennessee is one of only five states that do not authorize involuntary treatment in the community, often called “assisted outpatient treatment (AOT)" or “outpatient commitment.”.
For inpatient treatment, a person must be meet the following criteria:
be substantially likely of serious harm, which includes:
be unable to avoid severe impairment or injury from specific risks or;
place others in reasonable fear of serious physical harm.
A minimum of 50 beds per 100,000 people is considered necessary to provide minimally adequate treatment for individuals with severe mental illness. Like every state, Tennessee fails to meet this minimum standard.
Criminal justice officials are responding to the criminalization of individuals with innovative programs designed to divert individuals with severe mental illness away from the criminal justice system. Two of the most promising programs are: mental health courts and crisis intervention training (CIT).
Percentage of population served by a mental health court
Restore a sufficient number of beds to create access to inpatient care for qualifying individuals in crisis
Make active use of the state’s civil commitment laws to provide more timely treatment to individuals in need of treatment for symptoms of psychiatric crisis and reduce the consequences of non-treatment on them, their families and their communities