West Virginia, like every state, has its own civil commitment laws that establish criteria for determining when court-ordered treatment is appropriate for individuals with severe mental illness who are too ill to seek care voluntarily. The state authorizes both inpatient (hospital) and outpatient (community) treatment, which is known in West Virginia as "outpatient treatment." West Virginia still uses an involuntary treatment standard based primarily on a person’s likelihood of being dangerous instead of using a more progressive “need for treatment” standard as in many states.
For inpatient and outpatient treatment, a person must meet the following criteria:
- be a danger to self/others;
"Be a danger" to others includes presenting a danger to persons in his/her care;
"Be a danger to self" can be the inability, without assistance, to satisfy need for nourishment, personal or medical care, shelter, or self-protection and safety, so that probable death, substantial physical bodily injury, serious mental deterioration or physical debilitation or disease will ensue.
Note: Applications for final commitment must state, in detail, the recent overt acts upon which a danger to self/others conclusion is based.
State standards for emergency hospitalization for evaluation and state-by-state information on initiating emergency hospitalization and assisted inpatient or outpatient treatment can be found from our Civil Commitment Laws and Standards page.
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