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Policy Change Essay

1853 words - 7 pages

Running Head: CIVIL COMMITMENT 1Civil Commitment ProcessWinona State UniversityThe following paper will summarize the increased prevalence of mental health diagnosis within the State of Minnesota, explain the civil commitment process, and address why there is an increased need to provide nurses within the State of Minnesota with mental health education specifically around the civil commitment process. Lack of thorough mental health education for nurses has direct implications on the mental health population as well as all of society.Seriousness of Mental Health Issues"Of Minnesota's approximately 5.2 million residents, close to 168,000 adults live with serious mental illness and about 56,000 children live with serious mental health conditions" Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health, (2000). As reported by McIntosh, J.L. (2006) for the American Association of Suicidology, "In 2006, 554 Minnesotans died by suicide. Suicide is almost always the result of untreated or undertreated mental illness" (p.2). As these shocking statistics show, mental illness is prevalent in Minnesota, and untreated mental illness has deadly consequences both in adults and in children. In fact, mental illness is on the rise, as shown by this American Journal of Public Health article (2011), "The prevalence of self-reported mental health disability increased from 2.0% of the nonelderly adult population in the first 3 years (1997 to 1999) to 2.7% in the last 3 years (2007 to 2009), corresponding to an increase of almost 2 million disabled adults" (p.2156). Processes to intervene with mental illness early and prevent suicide are available to the people of Minnesota.Defining the Current Process for Civil CommitmentThe civil commitment process is a tool that can be used when signs of impending harm to self or others exist in a patient. However, this tool can only be implemented if adequate education to nurses is provided about what the civil commitment process is and when to use the process to protect a patient should be discussed with a physician. If a nurse based upon his or her patient assessment, with clear and specific evidence identified through detailed charting believes the patient is at risk of harming self or someone else, she or he may suggest to a physician to put forth a petition for commitment. If the physician agrees with the nursing assessment, the pre-petition screening team will start the commitment process. It is important to understand that the commitment process can be initiated either voluntarily or mandatorily, of course, voluntarily being the preferred method. As stated in The Civil Commitment Process Fact Sheet Minnesota (2003), "The court may order commitment if it makes findings based on clear and convincing evidence that:You are mentally ill, chemically dependent or mentally retarded;There is substantial likelihood you will physically harm yourself or others as demonstrated by:a failure to obtain food, clothing, shelter...

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