September 18, 2019
E-FILE

Mental Health

Mental health records are confidential. The only person who can obtain information is the person to whom the records pertain to (the respondent). Acts concerned with mental health include:

Baker Act (Mental)

A process established by Florida Statutes Mental Health Act by which a person whose current mental state poses a danger to that person or to others may be taken to a mental health receiving facility for an involuntary examination. Chapter 394 is known as “The Baker Act” and as “The Florida Mental Health Act.”  A Baker Act proceeding is a means of providing an individual with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment, on an involuntary basis.

What is an involuntary Baker Act?

An involuntary Baker Act admission occurs upon a finding by a court that:

  1. A person is mentally ill and, because of the mental illness, he/she has refused voluntary placement for treatment or is unable to determine whether placement is necessary.
  2. He/she is incapable of living alone or with help, and without treatment is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for him/herself, or there is a substantial likelihood in the near future that he/she will inflict serious bodily harm on himself/herself/others as evidenced by recent behavior.
  3. All less restrictive treatment alternatives are not appropriate.

Can I file a Baker Act on someone who does not reside or currently is not in Bay County?

No.  A Petition for Involuntary Placement can only be filed in the county which the individual resides or is currently located.  If you are seeking to file a petition for someone who resides or is currently outside of Bay County you will need to contact the County which the individual is currently located.

What do I need to bring with me to the Clerk’s Office to file a petition to have a person evaluated?

You will need to bring picture identification and an address/location for the person.  You should arrive at the Clerk’s Office prior to 3:30 p.m. to allow time for the processing of the paperwork.  The Clerk’s Office closes at 4:30 p.m.

Can I prepare paperwork before coming to the Clerk’s Office?

Yes.  The required form/petition is available on our website.  By clicking here Baker Act Petition  you can fill out the information.  Do not sign the petition until you present it to the Clerk at the Clerk’s Office.

Marchman Act (Alcohol or Drugs)

A process established by Florida Statutes “Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993”  by which a person may be admitted for an involuntary evaluation to determine if his or her judgment is impaired due to substance abuse and he or she has, therefore, lost the power of self-control with respect to substance abuse and poses a danger to himself or herself or to another person.

Who files the Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization Marchman Act)?

The petition may be filed by the person’s spouse, guardian, any relative, a private practitioner, the director of a licensed service provider or designee, or any person with personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse impairment and their prior course of assessment and treatment.   For a minor, the petition may be filed by a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or licensed service provider.  The petitioner must have recently observed the behavior of the person who is the subject of the petition.

Can I file a Marchman Act on someone who does not reside or currently is not in Bay County?

No.  A Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization can only be filed in the county which the individual resides or is currently located.  If you are seeking to file a petition for someone who resides or is currently outside of Bay County you will need to contact the County which the individual is currently located.

What do I need to bring with me to the Clerk’s Office to file a petition to have a person evaluated?

You will need to bring picture identification and an address/location for the person.  You should arrive at the Clerk’s Office prior to 3:30 p.m. to allow time for the processing of the paperwork.  The Clerk’s Office closes at 4:30 p.m.

Can I prepare paperwork before coming to the Clerk’s Office?

Yes.  The required form/petition is available on our website.  By clicking here Marchman Act Petition  you can fill out the information.  Do not sign the petition until you present it to the Clerk at the Clerk’s Office.