Challenging a 72-Hour Psych Hold: A Comprehensive Guide

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on July 1, 2023
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A 72-hour psych hold, also known as an involuntary commitment or a “5150,” is a legal procedure in which an individual deemed a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder is detained for a psychiatric evaluation and possible treatment.

The process can seem daunting, but it’s important to know your rights, so in this blog article, you’ll learn how to navigate the system if you believe the hold is unjustified, along with other related info.

What is a "72 Hour Hold" in Nevada? 3 Things to Know (OLD)

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is uniquely qualified to write about challenging a 72-hour psych hold due to our extensive experience in the mental health field, including working in residential and mental health treatment facilities and as licensed counselors.

We’ve been part and parcel to many 5150 holds and understand how traumatizing the experience can be to individuals who involuntarily lose their freedom.

Our deep understanding of mental health issues, treatments, and the healthcare system, and our dedication to providing accurate information based on transparent research, make us a reliable source for such sensitive and critical topics.

Understanding the Criteria for a 72-Hour Psych Hold

To be placed on a 72-hour psych hold, an individual must meet specific criteria:

  1. The person is a danger to themselves, including situations where they may risk self-harm or suicide.
  2. The person is a danger to others: If the individual’s actions could potentially harm others, they may be placed on hold.
  3. The person is gravely disabled: This means they cannot provide for their basic personal needs due to their mental health condition.

Know Your Rights

Patients under a 72-hour psych hold have certain rights, including:

  • Right to humane care and treatment
  • Right to communicate with others outside the facility
  • Right to refuse medication

Steps to Challenge a 72-Hour Psych Hold

If you believe the hold is unwarranted, you can challenge it. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Find a Lawyer: Seek legal counsel who specializes in mental health law. They can guide you through the process, estimate the costs of a 72-hour hold without insurance, tell you who pays for a 72-hour hold, and represent your interests.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect any relevant documents, medical records, and testimonies that may support your case.
  3. Prepare for the Hearing: Work with your lawyer to understand the process and prepare your arguments.

Key Points to Remember

When filing the challenge, be aware of the following:

  • Time Frame: You must typically file the challenge within a certain time frame after initiating the hold. Check local laws for specifics.
  • Documentation: Proper documentation is crucial. This might include medical records, psychiatric evaluations, and other pertinent information.
  • Less Restrictive Alternatives: Demonstrate that there’s a less restrictive alternative to the hold that will still ensure the safety of you and others.

Remember, every situation is unique, and this guide is not a substitute for legal advice. Always consult with a professional when dealing with legal matters.

Why 72 Hours?

– 72-hour duration for psychiatric hold provides enough time for observation and evaluation of the patient’s mental state.

– It serves as a safety measure to protect individuals who may pose a danger to self-risk to themselves or others.

– The hold allows for immediate intervention to ensure safety.

– This timeframe is a legal limit in many U.S. states.

Challenging a 72-hour psych hold involves understanding these factors and working with legal and mental health professionals to ensure the process respects the individual’s rights and needs.

Benefits of 72-Hour Holds

– Immediate intervention: Allows for immediate care when someone is a danger to themselves or others.

– Professional assessment: Mental health professionals can evaluate and determine the patient’s best treatment plan.

– Safety assurance: Provides a safe environment for those experiencing a serious mental health crisis or crisis.

While understanding these benefits, knowing how to challenge a 72-hour psych hold is equally crucial if you believe it has been unjustly applied. Legal and mental health advice should be sought in such cases.

Costs of 72-Hour Holds

In addition to mental and emotional tolls, according to research into healthcare cost databases, the average daily cost of mental hospitalization in the U.S. ranges from $800 to $1,500 per day. However, the price varies widely depending on the region and the hospital.

What is law AB 1194?

– Law AB 1194, passed in California, significantly changes conservatorship and guardianship laws According to the welfare and institutions code.

– Non-professional conservators can be held liable for civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each act of abuse against a conservatee.

– AB 1194 requires the appointment of counsel in important conservatorship proceedings, such as petitions to establish or terminate.

– Preferences are considered when a conservatee, proposed conservatee, or person alleged to lack legal capacity expresses their wishes.

– Detailed information can be found in the law AB 1194 via the Disability Rights California, which clarifies the legal status of involuntary treatment in California. Explains how to understand the Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act in detail. Access here.

What Happens if the Patient Still Needs Treatment After a 72-Hour Hold?

– Extended Involuntary Hold: If the treatment team says the patient remains a danger, the team can lengthen the hold up to 14 days for intensive treatment.

– Voluntary Admission: Patient agrees to continue treatment voluntarily, transitioning from involuntary hospitalization hold to voluntary admission status.

Probable Cause Hearings

– Probable Cause Hearing: A legal procedure during or after a 72-hour psych hold.

– Purpose: To determine if there’s enough reason (“probable cause”) to believe the patient is a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder.

– Representation: The patient’s rights representative can have an attorney.

What Happens During a Probable Cause Hearing in California?

Probable Cause Hearing in California (Preliminary Hearing): 

– Purpose: Determine if there’s probable cause to believe the patient poses a danger to themselves or others due to a mental health disorder, justifying further involuntary treatment. 

– Representation: Patients have the right to legal representation. Public defender provided if needed.

– Evidence Presentation: Both sides present evidence. Medical experts testify.

How To Challenge A 72-Hour Psych Hold Conclusion

Challenging a 72-hour psych hold can be complex, but understanding your rights and the steps involved in a 5150 can empower you to advocate for yourself effectively. It’s essential to remember that help is available, and you’re not alone in this journey.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions about how to challenge a 72-hour psych hold, please leave a comment below. Additionally, if there’s a specific mental illness, health service, app, or course you’d like the Online Mental Health Reviews team to explore and review next, don’t hesitate to drop us a suggestion!

If You Are In Crisis

If you are in a dire situation, it’s important to note that waiting for an online therapy session might not be the safest option. If immediate assistance is needed, please dial 911. This is particularly crucial if there are any intentions to cause bodily harm to yourself or others. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available by dialing 988. Help is accessible around the clock.

Additionally, you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline provides free, confidential services, guiding individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues towards appropriate treatment options and providing necessary information, available 24/7, all year round.

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