Mental Health

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Commitments

There are people in our community who suffer from a mental illness or substance dependency and require treatment. However, because of their mental illness, these individuals are not aware of the fact that they need treatment. Family members, friends, care givers, and/or individuals who have knowledge of the person's actions may seek hospitalization for these individuals.

Through the laws of the State of Iowa, the County Attorney's Office has been given the responsibility of assisting in the involuntary hospitalization of those who have a mental illness and are seriously mentally ill.

Requirements to Involuntarily Hospitalize an Individual

The following facts need to be proven to involuntarily hospitalize an individual who is seriously mentally impaired or who suffers from a serious mental illness:

  • The individual must suffer from a mental disease or disorder.
  • As a result of the disease or disorder, the individual must lack sufficient judgment to make responsible decisions with respect to his/her hospitalization or treatment.
  • Any of the following facts must be true:
    • The individual is likely to physically injure themselves or others if allowed to remain at liberty without treatment, demonstrated through recent overt acts or threats.
    • The individual is likely to cause serious emotional injury to family members or others who lack reasonable opportunity to avoid contact with the individual, if the person with mental illness is allowed to remain at liberty without treatment.
    • The individual is unable to satisfy their needs for food, clothing, shelter, or essential medical care so that it is likely that the person will suffer physical injury, physical debilitation or death.