Definitions, Terminology and Jargon

By Star, Arizona Daily | AZ Daily Star, December 22, 2012 | Go to article overview

Definitions, Terminology and Jargon


Star, Arizona Daily, AZ Daily Star


TITLE 19/NON-TITLE 19 (TITLE XIX/Non-Title XIX)

A person who meets certain income requirements can qualify for the public behavioral-health system and is called a "Title 19" client. Someone who does not is referred to as "non-Title 19."

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

This includes mental health, mental illness and substance abuse.

SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS

This is when a person's emotions or behaviors, because of a mental disorder, are so affected that he or she has a hard time living day to day without ongoing support and treatment. It has a long-term impact on the person's relationships, employment and ability to get along with others, and makes it harder to function in other aspects of life.

The term generally applies to persons age 18 or older, but research has shown some serious mental illnesses begin before that. Disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and some types of depression are considered serious mental illnesses.

CPSA's Comprehensive Service Providers or SAMHC can make an official determination of serious mental illness that means the person is eligible for some publicly funded services.

MEDICAL V. LEGAL COMPETENCE

Assessing a person's mental competency means different things in different venues.

In the medical or psychiatric arena - such as determining if a person with a serious mental illness should be hospitalized, even against his will - the measure is if the person is a danger to self or others, persistently or acutely disabled or gravely disabled.

These are civil actions involving the court. Terms such as "civil commitment petitions," "Title 36," "pre-petition hearing" and "emergency petition" are all part of the process that allows a person with a mental illness to be hospitalized if a judge, relying on expert and witness testimony, decides it's in the person's best interest.

That's different than determining competency in the context of a criminal proceeding. "Rule 11" is shorthand for the need to figure out if a person who has been charged with a crime has the ability to understand the charge and the trial process and can assist his defense attorney.

After a person is evaluated under Rule 11, a judge must decide if the person is competent (which does not mean the person is not mentally ill), incompetent but restorable (with psychiatric medication or other treatment the person can be made to understand and assist in his own defense), or incompetent and not restorable. This last category means the person cannot legally be tried for a crime, because he is not now and never will be in a mental condition to understand the legal system and assist in his defense. When that happens, if the person is diagnosed as having a serious mental illness, he may end up being civilly committed to a hospital under Title 36. If the incompetency is caused by brain damage, for example, he will be released from jail but not necessarily hospitalized.

INVOLUNTARY COMMITMENT/ HOSPITALIZATION

A person must be found by a court, relying on psychiatric professionals, to be a danger to himself or others, "gravely disabled" or "persistently or acutely disabled" before he can be hospitalized for court-ordered evaluation.

COURT ORDERS FOR MENTAL-HEALTH EVALUATION AND TREATMENT/TITLE 36/ EMERGENCY PETITION/CIVIL COMMITMENT

In the Tucson area, seeking a court-ordered psychiatric assessment starts with a call to the 24-hour Community-Wide Crisis Line at 622-6000 or 1-800-796-6762. Any responsible person may apply for a court-ordered evaluation of a person who isn't willing or able to be evaluated voluntarily.

Crisis Response Center or SAMHC staff members help people through the process, which varies based on whether the need is urgent.

An application for emergency admission for evaluation is used when the person in need of evaluation is a danger to self and/or others and requires immediate hospitalization. When the patient arrives at the emergency department, he is examined by a psychiatrist who determines whether emergency admission is necessary. …

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