A mental health facility is a hospital or other organization which treats people with a mental illness. This includes both private and state facilities.
There are three ways you can enter a mental health facility as a patient: voluntary, informal, and involuntary.
If you have a mental illness, you can ask to be admitted to a mental health facility through voluntary admission. If you request to be discharged, the facility must release you within 5 business days or file a petition in court requesting to keep you longer.
Instead of voluntary admission, you can ask for informal admission. This is similar to voluntary admission, but you can be discharged more quickly.
Sometimes you can be admitted to a mental health facility against your wishes. This is called “involuntary admission.” There are two types of involuntary admission: by court order and by certification.
Admission by court order
A judge can force you to be admitted to a mental health facility. This is called admission by court order.
Admission by certification
In an emergency, you might be admitted against your wishes for a short period even without a court order. This is called emergency admission by certification.
Updated: February 2018