Kelly Baker Nobles
Probate Judge

WHAT IS INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT? If you have personal knowledge of an adult or child who suffers from mental illness or chemical dependence (alcohol or drug addiction) who is endangering himself or others and is unwilling to get help, the person may need involuntary commitment at a facility for treatment. Only a mental health professional, i.e. medical doctor, can determine whether or not commitment is necessary.

ADULT (A person 18 years old or older or a child sixteen or older): If you know a person, mentally ill, needing INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT contact Newberry Mental Health Center, 2043 Medical Park, Newberry, SC 29108 (803) 276-8000. DO NOT COME TO THE PROBATE COURT FIRST; GO TO THE APPROPRIATE MENTAL HEALTH CENTER BEFORE COMING TO PROBATE COURT. The Probate Court can only assist after the Mental Health Center (MHC) has done an initial screening. When Involuntary Commitment is needed you must go to the Mental Health Center to complete documents for a JUDICIAL COMMITMENT. This is appropriate for situations where the individual is engaged in a pattern of behavior that will likely cause harm to himself or others. Once the MHC has completed the initial screening the paperwork is sent to the Judge. The Court receives the petition, counsel is appointed and a hearing is set within 15 days. Notice is given to all interested parties (individual in need of assistance, petitioner, MHC, examiners, counsel). The individual must be evaluated by two court designees with one examiner being a physician. The MHC can assist in making an appointment with an appropriate physician. There will be a fee for the physician evaluation. As of 09/2004 the fee is $70. If the individual has a private psychiatrist/medical doctor they can evaluate the person. The MHC will provide the doctor with the appropriate paperwork. If the individual refuses to be evaluated or refuses to attend the hearing(s), the individual can be brought in by law enforcement if necessary. If the examiners find that involuntary treatment is required, a hearing is scheduled to decide whether or not the individual needs treatment in a hospital or as an outpatient. The Judge and only the Judge can determine if the individual requires involuntary commitment. The Judge may decide to dismiss the petition or may order inpatient, outpatient, or a combination of treatments.

CHILDREN: A child under the age of sixteen can receive treatment upon the consent of the legal custodian. If a child will not cooperate with the parent in obtaining treatment, the same procedures outlined in the ADULT section must be followed. In most respects children ages 16 and older are treated as adults and can seek admittance at a facility for treatment.

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD YOU BRING? Current address, or known location. YOU MUST KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL! Law Enforcement cannot pick up the person without an address. The following information is not required but would be helpful: insurance information, date of birth, and social security number, medical doctor, medications, and anything you may feel is important.