Court Order

Request for psychiatric assessment

Requesting a Psychiatric Evaluation through a court order is a legal process available to everyone in the province of Quebec. The principal goal of a court order is to act as a preventative measure. It ensures that an individual receives an evaluation by trained professionals who can assess the level of danger of a given situation.

A court order is invoked to help an individual who may be struggling with a mental illness or is in an acute crisis, and who is an imminent threat to themselves or others. A psychiatric evaluation can also be the first step in receiving long-term treatment and/or a diagnosis.

The decision to invoke a court order should not be taken lightly. The use of a court order for a psychiatric evaluation fundamentally removes an individual’s right to consent to treatment. It is only used when no other form of treatment or services can be provided in a timely manner to reduce the level of danger for the individual in need.

The use of a court order can be a trying and difficult procedure for both the family and the individual being evaluated. It is important to talk to a trained professional beforehand about the use of the order and how that may affect the family system before and after the events.

The key factor in the use of a court order is the imminence of danger. With the help of a counselor at Friends for Mental Health, we will help you determine the level of severity of the situation in regards to the individual requiring the evaluation. A counselor will thoroughly explain the procedures and steps to be taken to help you work through this procedure and talk to you about the ways in which this may or may not be beneficial in your case.

A court order mandates that an individual receives a psychiatric evaluation over a 24-48 hour period by two psychiatrists at a psychiatric facility or hospital. During this period, the individual will be observed, most likely diagnosed (although not always), and assessed for their level of safety to return home after that period of time. If the attending psychiatrists do not feel that the individual is safe to go home or needs further observation, they will attempt a court order through the legal team at the hospital to extend the individual’s stay, for their safety. Follow-up services will be provided for the individual, if the treatment team feels that they are needed or appropriate.

After reading this, if you feel that you would like to inquire more about the preparation of a court order or would like to consult a counselor about an individual close to you, please contact Friends for Mental Health at 514-636-6885.

If you feel that a loved one, family member, or someone close to you is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to contact the police at 9-1-1, or the closest Crisis Center to you.

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