How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Steve Your Own Question
Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Steve is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My brother is 50 years old and has a lifetime history of depression

Resolved Question:

My brother is 50 years old and has a lifetime history of depression and suicide attempts. He has been in and out of mental hospitals several times, which has accomplished nothing, because they were only short term stays, and he never follows through with any medications or counseling when he is sent back home.

What are the procedures for getting someone commited to a mental hospital for long period of time or maybe for the rest of his life?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.



Excellent question... but I am afraid you are not going to like my answer. One of the many freedoms adults in America are afforded is the freedom to determine the course of our mental health care. The only exception (and I am sure you have heard these before) is if a person is overtly a threat to him/herself or will act out aggressively toward another person. In this case, it is possible to have a judge commit the person involuntarily. The courts are the only power that has the right to retain a person against their will.


So, any lengthy hospital stay will have to be of the volition of your brother. If he is beginning to grow neglectful of his biological or hygiene needs (i.e., not feeding himself, not bathing, etc.) then you could pose a stronger argument to a judge; but short of hearing him state explicitly that he is going to hurt himself again, you will not have the necessary leverage.


Now, a final option is to deem your brother as being "incapacitated due to mental illness" and be granted a power of attorney, at which time you would be able to call medical and treatment shots for him. The entirety of this area is a bit outside of my field of expertise, but you may wish to pose the question in the legal portion of Just Answer (i..e, ask about the process and limitation of securing a power of attorney over your brother).


If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

Dr. Steve and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions