Civil Commitment is a legal process through which an individual with symptoms of severe mental illness is court-ordered into treatment in a hospital (inpatient), or in the community (outpatient). All citizens have civil liberties that need to be protected under both federal and state laws, so following “due process” is of paramount importance. Treatment is not punishment! The state may need to deprive someone of their civil liberties because they pose a danger to self or others due to mental illness.
A separate and distinct process for the civil commitment of a child/adolescent exists in Utah statute and rule. Separate criteria, paperwork and procedures are also used. In the commitment of a child/adolescent, the Designated Examiner may also be referred to as a Neutral & Detached Fact Finder (NDFF). The person acting in this capacity should not be involved in the child’s treatment. 62A-15-703(2) & 62A-15-703(3)(a).
The requirements for adult civil commitment require an examination by a “Designated Examiner.” If the examination reveals that a person meets the “substantial danger” criteria, a court of law orders them to be committed to the care of the local mental health authority, to receive the appropriate treatment.