Arkansas, 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) Arkansasand outpatient (community) treatment, which is known in Arkansas as "outpatient treatment."


 For inpatient and outpatient care, a person must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be a clear and present danger to self/others;
  • recent behavior or behavior history which demonstrates that he/she so lacks the capacity to care for own welfare that there is a reasonable probability of death, serious bodily injury, or serious physical or mental debilitation; or
  • have an impaired understanding of need for treatment to point that he/she is unlikely to participate in treatment voluntarily, needs treatment to prevent relapse or deterioration,  AND 
  • demonstrate prior noncompliance as a factor in placement in a psychiatric hospital, prison, or jail at least two (2) times in last forty-eight (48) months or a factor in committing one (1) or more acts, attempts, or threats of serious violent behavior in last forty-eight (48) months

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. 


Visit Get Help for tools and information about preparing for and handling a psychiatric crisis.

Visit Get Involved for information about how you can help bring down barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness.



Arkansas News

  • Out in the cold
    on 10/22/09 ( Blog / Arkansas )
    With winter imminent and the homeless so much in today's news, the findings of Professors Kevin Fitzpatrick at the University of Arkansas and Brad Myrstol at the University of Alaska Anchorage are pertinent.
  • Need for Treatment
    on 10/24/08 ( Blog / Arkansas )

    Need for treatment standards appear in various forms across the country.


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