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Petitions for Discharge from Involuntary Commitment to Mental Health Facilities

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

In this article, we will discuss each of the two ways you can be discharged if you were involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility.  We will answer the questions “how can you be discharged by court order when you were involuntarily committed?”, “what if the judge denies the petition for discharge?”, and “how can you be discharged by the facility director of the mental health facility?”.

How Can You Be Discharged By Court Order When You Were Involuntarily Committed?

A Petition for Discharge is quite similar to a Petition for Involuntary Admission.  Listed below are the things you need to consider in order to petition for discharge:

  • You can file a Petition for Discharge at any time, in the county where you currently reside
  • Much like the Petition for Involuntary Admission, the petition must thoroughly describe why and when the original deposition was entered, and provide a full accounting of every reason you believe you are entitled to discharge at this time
  • A court hearing for your Petition for Discharge will be held within 5 business days once the petition is filed
  • You have the right to be represented at the hearing, to have an independent evaluation, and to have a trial by jury, if you so choose
  • When the hearing concludes, a judge or jury will reach a verdict and outline the terms under which you will either be discharged or resubmitted for additional care

What if the Judge Denies the Petition for Discharge?

If the judge grants your petition, you will be released from the hospital or alternative treatment.  However, if the judge believes you continue to be “a person subject to involuntary admission,” the judge can require you to be hospitalized, among other things.  It is at the discretion of the judge to decide if you should remain on your current schedule of care or if changes are needed, as well as what those changes should be.  The judge could choose to have you returned to the same facility or assign a new one, alter your current treatment plan, or assign you to a different form of alternative treatment.

How Can You Be Discharged By the Facility Director of the Mental Health Facility?

The facility director of the mental health clinic is permitted to discharge you as long as they believe you are no longer “a person subject to involuntary treatment,” much like a judge.  The director must give you written notice of a decision to discharge you at least 7 days in advance, and is also legally bound to inform you of your right to remain in treatment as an informal or voluntary recipient, should you feel you need more care.  If the facility is in a different county than the patient lives in, the director may decide to inform the State’s Attorney in the county you are returning to so they are aware of the findings and where the hearings were held.

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How Can You Be Discharged By Court Order When You Were Involuntarily Committed?

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