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No one can be involuntarily committed without a court hearing. Even then, the commitment must be limited in time. It is often a bridge to a guardianship.

Mental health commitment in Texas

A police officer can take someone to an emergency room if they are an imminent danger to themselves or someone else.

In Central Texas, a police officer can take a person having a mental health crisis to the Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care.

A guardian can take someone there or to a hospital emergency room for an examination.

A judge can find that the patient is likely to cause serious harm to himself or someone else.

A judge can also find that the patient is suffering severe and abnormal mental, emotional or physical distress accompanied by substantial mental or physical deterioration in independent functioning and an inability to rationally make an informed decision about inpatient treatment.

The judge can then order a mental health commitment. The initial period can be extended for longer and longer periods if the need persists. A guardian who is able to consent to treatment is often appointed while the mental health commitment is in effect.

Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.

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