Change Montana legislation around involuntary committal

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As we all know, mental health is a huge problem in Montana. In fact Montana has the second highest suicide rate in our great nation just after Alaska. We can all do something about this. It not only starts with improving awareness and increasing available resources but also there is a serious problem that our law makers in the state capitol can address. One that I know my fellow healthcare providers would agree would significantly reduce the suicide rate in Montana. This problem is around the current legislation around involuntary committal of individuals who are suicidal, homicidal or pose a serious physical harm to themselves as a result of their acute mental state.


Currently there is no legislation that allows physicians or other healthcare providers such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants working on the front lines to place such a hold. It is currently in the power of the local county attorney and the courts. Individuals not qualified to make decisions that a person is a serious harm to themselves or others. When a person is in such a dark place, they are not thinking clearly and can be very deadset on harming themselves and/or someone else. Since we as healthcare providers can’t place them on a temporary hold like how its done in the VAST majority of the United States, we must wait sometimes days for a county attorney to order an emergency hold, this is of course not realistic as every second counts and these individuals can just leave the ER and go back home and try to harm themselves or someone else.

 
I’m sure many Montanans are surprised by this as it seems common sense that if say an ER doctor feels someone is at a high risk of harming themselves that they place that patient on a psychiatric hold so at the very least they can be assessed by a mental health provider in an appropriate facility. I respect patient’s rights highly and what I’m saying is not to force treatment on the mentally ill, but to simply place a hold so we can have someone qualified assess them before they decide to just leave the emergency room or clinic.

Please sign this petition and tell your Montana state representative and senator to push for an amendment that adds healthcare providers to the list of individuals who can place such a hold.



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