Resources

Serious mental illness – support, education and advocacy in Barnstable County, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket – NAMI Cape Cod & Islands

Massachusetts Guardianship Association – Guardianship of an Adult / Glossary of Guardianship Terms

For comprehensive information about Court-Ordered Outpatient Treatment (also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment) on Facebook


NAMI Massachusetts – A Road Map through the Criminal Justice System for Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families

National mental illness advocacy organizations – Treatment Advocacy Center   Mental illness Policy Org

Self-protection measures when you are at risk of harm due to another person’s untreated mental illness symptoms – A Personal Safety Plan

Important Legal Concepts for Guardianship and Civil Commitment

Informed Consent – Informed consent requires two steps. A physician must provide adequate information about the proposed treatment to the patient and the patient must have the capacity to use the information appropriately in the decision making process. Generally, the physician must inform the patient about: a) the nature and purpose of the proposed treatment; b) potential benefits and risks; c) alternative treatments, including the risks and benefits. Capacity to consent requires that the patient: a) understand the information that is disclosed in the informed consent process; b) appreciate the information as it relates to his/her own circumstances; c) use reason in the decision-making process and d) express a choice.

Criteria for Civil Commitment – Massachusetts’ law requires only a “likelihood of serious harm,” which, paraphrased, means as follows. There must be a substantial (not imminent) risk of physical harm to the person himself or others, as evidenced by: 1) threats or attempts at suicide or serious bodily harm; or (2) placing others in reasonable fear of violent behavior or serious physical harm. The court need not witness these behaviors; there must be sufficient evidence that a threat exists. Alternatively, the person must be in a condition that many other states refer to as “gravely disabled.” The court may commit a person to treatment if the person’s judgment is so impaired that he cannot be protected from a substantial risk of physical harm unless treatment is provided.