Michigan, 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 Michigan as "assisted outpatient treatment." 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.



For inpatient treatment, a person must meet the following criteria:



  • be a danger to self or others; 
  • be unable to attend to basic physical needs such as food, clothing, or shelter necessary to avoid serious harm in the near future; or 
  • be unable to understand need for treatment and continued behavior reasonably expected to result in significant physical harm to self/others

For outpatient care, a person must meet the following criteria:

  • show an impaired understanding of the need for treatment makes voluntary participation in treatment unlikely;
  • be noncompliant with recommended treatment necessary to prevent a relapse or harmful deterioration of condition; and 
    • demonstrate a history of noncompliance that includes two hospitalizations in past 36 months or acts/threats/attempts of violence to self/others in past 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.


Michigan News

  • A View from the Michigan Bench
    on 04/23/09 ( Blog / MI )

    “The problem is Michigan law requires people to be in crisis, such as being arrested, to receive court-ordered mental health care,” write Judges Jennie E. Barkey and Milton L. Mack, Jr. in the Detroit News.

  • Bipolar Disorder - personally speaking
    on 03/20/08 ( Blog / MI )

    A writer in Michigan sheds some light on what it’s like to have bipolar disorder and the importance of effective treatment:


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