TA Coalition Webinar: Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum: Historical Trends and Principles for Law and Practice

Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/22/2022 - 12:45

A SAMHSA sponsored webinar presented by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, took place Wednesday, July 28, 2021 from 2:00-3:30pm Eastern Time called “Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum: Historical Trends and Principles for Law and Practice”.  



Before the mid to late twentieth century, public mental health services in the United States were provided almost exclusively in large state hospitals. Today, all but about two percent of care is provided in other settings, primarily in the community. The vast majority of care is voluntary. Every state, however, allows for the civil commitment of those who meet the requisite legal standard-- but only if there is no less restrictive option.

The challenge for public mental health systems is to offer a full continuum of services and supports, enabling individuals to transition between levels of care as needed. So often, inpatient commitment is invoked when a person has fallen out of treatment and is experiencing a crisis. Lengths of stay for these individuals are usually brief (typically 7-10 days), followed by referral for services in the community. Outpatient commitment (where it is used) typically is reserved for individuals with a history of inpatient commitment who are unwilling to engage in services that their history suggests are necessary to prevent them from deteriorating and again requiring admission. 

This webinar will trace the history of civil commitment, describe existing laws and practices, and offer guidelines to assist policy makers and others responsible for reforming or implementing civil commitment laws or systems. 



•Jeffrey W. Swanson, PhD - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

•W. Lawrence Fitch, JD - University of Maryland Law School, Affiliated Faculty, Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, University of Virginia


If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Kelle Masten via email at kelle.masten@nasmhpd.org.


Thank you!


**We do not offer CEU credits however a letters of attendance will be available to download during the evaluation after the webinar is complete.   

***Closed-captioning is available for this webinar. 



Webinar Type
This is a TA Coalition Webinar
Year Annual Meeting
Presentation Date
Presentation End Date
Presentation Type