Ohio, 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 Ohio as "outpatient civil commitment." Ohio 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 both inpatient and outpatient treatment, a person must meet the following criteria:



  • be a danger to self/others; 
  • be in substantial and immediate risk of serious physical impairment or injury to self as manifested by inability to provide for basic physical needs and provision for needs is unavailable in community; or 
  • be in need and would benefit from treatment as evidenced by behavior creating grave and imminent risk to substantial rights of others/self.

Any person can initiate proceedings for court-ordered treatment by filing an affidavit.

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.


Ohio News

  • We Need More ‘News’ Like This
    on 02/23/11 ( Blog / OH )

    Mary Ann Greier of The Review has written a story about severe mental illness that deserves a much bigger audience than East Liverpool, Ohio, where The Review is published.

    “Treatment works when it comes to helping people with mental illness,” she quotes from a local mental health professional, “but sometimes it requires action by a family member or someone else to see the need.” Then Greier goes on to explain how family members and others can do just that.

    Help available for people with mental illness” accurately describes symptoms of some severe mental illnesses, identifies the risk factors for mental illness and violence (which include lack of treatment), and explains how to use the state’s assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) law. The article even provides telephone numbers to call in a mental health crisis.

    Endless finger-pointing has followed the January shootings in Tucson that left six dead and 13 wounded. No doubt about it - there’s more than enough blame to go around in this particularly preventable tragedy. (See what Pima Community College officials knew before the shootings in this story from the Arizona Sun). But under-represented in the finger pointing is general ignorance of symptoms and interventions. Greier and The Review are to be applauded for raising awareness and providing useful tools to their readers. We can only hope others will follow where East Liverpool has gone.

    For tips on handling a psychiatric crisis, visit Get Help on our website.

    Visit our blog archive to read all our recent posts.   
  • A Supreme Court Justice Weighs In for AOT
    on 02/03/11 ( Blog / OH )

    Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton says people with severe mental illness “shouldn’t have to commit a crime to get mental-health treatment" and endorses court-ordered outpatient treatment as a means seeing that they get it. 

  • How Can People Sleep at Night?
    on 11/30/09 ( Blog / OH )
  • Hospital Beds Continue to Dwindle as Budgets Get Cut
    on 09/12/08 ( Blog / OH )

    It looks as if two Ohio mental health hospitals will soon close as the result of state budget woes.


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