Maine, 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 Maine as "progressive treatment program (PTP)." It is one of the 27 states whose involuntary treatment standard is based on a person’s “need for treatment” rather than only the person’s likelihood of being dangerous to self or others.
Inpatient hospitalization is considered the best available means for treatment of the patient when the court is satisfied with the submitted treatment plan and, based on recent actions or behavior, the person is either:
- a danger to self/others or;
- severe physical or mental impairment or injury likely to result without treatment plus determination that suitable community resources for his care and treatment are unavailable
Outpatient treatment (progressive treatment program) is considered when a person meets the following criteria:
- The person has a severe and persistent mental illness;
- The person poses a likelihood of serious harm;
- The person has the benefit of an individualized treatment plan;
- Community resources are available to support the treatment plan;
- The person is unlikely to follow the treatment plan voluntarily;
- Court-ordered compliance will help to protect the patient from interruptions in treatment, relapses or deterioration of mental health; and
- Compliance will enable the patient to survive more safely in a community setting without posing a likelihood of serious harm.
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.
Click here to read the press release. issued when Maine Governor Baldacci signed LD 1360 into law permitting assisted outpatient treatment on April 14, 2010.
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.