A new provision to the Minnesota Civil Commitment Act is called voluntary engagement. The purpose is to allow counties to develop relationships with people with mental illnesses in order to intervene early when symptoms are appearing or reappearing instead of waiting until they are a danger to themselves or others.
In order to be eligible for engagement services, the person must be at least 18 years old, have a mental illness, and either (1) be exhibiting the signs of a serious mental illness such as hallucinations, mania, delusional thoughts, or inability to care for themselves; or (2) they have a history of failing to adhere with treatment for their mental illness that has been a key factor in the past for a hospitalization or incarceration, and the person is now showing the symptoms that may lead to hospitalization, incarceration, or court-ordered treatment.
Engagement services include assertive attempts to engage the individual in mental health treatment, engaging the person’s support network including educating them on means restriction and suicide prevention, and meeting the person’s immediate needs for food, housing, medication, income, disability verification and treatment for medical conditions.
Engagement services must consider a person’s personal preferences and can last for up to 90 days. They must be person-centered and can be provided even if someone is in jail.
Services end if the person meets the criteria for civil commitment or if the person agrees to voluntary treatment. When an individual agrees to voluntary treatment, the engagement team must facilitate the referral to an appropriate mental health provider including help obtaining insurance. Engagement staff can be county staff or through a contracted agency. They can include, but are not limited to, members of a mobile crisis teams, certified peer specialists, and homeless outreach workers.
NAMI Ramsey County wrote a letter to county commissioners in support of this new provision. You can, too!
Voluntary Engagement is voluntary for counties, which is why it’s important that you reach out to your county commissioner.
Not sure what to say to support? Check out the guide below!
Author: nami minnesota
Post & guide written by NAMI Minnesota.