Mental Health

Pre-Commitment Investigation


Pre-Commitment Investigation falls into two categories, involuntary and voluntary commitment. The involuntary commitment process is explained in detail below. If you have questions, please view the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Involuntary Commitment

The State of Oregon has a set of laws and procedures to cover situations when a person is behaving in a way that appears to require inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for the person's own safety or for the safety of the community.

The reasons for involuntary commitment of a mentally ill person to a hospital are very specific and exclusive.

Any person who is to be committed involuntarily

Must be diagnosed with a chronic, severe mental illness (for example, schizophrenia or a major mood disorder).


Must pose an imminent threat of harm to themselves or others, and/or show inability to care for their own basic needs to the point they become a danger to themselves.

Steps in a typical involuntary commitment process:

  1. Identifying at-risk behavior
    1. Police who observe behavior that appears to be dangerous can take a person directly to a hospital emergency room for evaluation.
    2. A county mental health worker can request that police find and deliver an allegedly mentally ill person to a local emergency room if there is believed to be urgent need to commit.
    3. Hospital staff can directly request a mental health evaluation of an individual who came to the emergency room for medical problems but is thought to be in need of commitment.
    4. Any two people in the community who are concerned about a person's safety due to serious, dangerous mental health or emotional problems can petition for involuntary commitment.

      Note: Family members, friends, or acquaintances that seek commitment of a person go to the community mental health program serving their county, where a staff member will interview them.
  2. A pre-commitment investigation or hearing
    1. If a commitment hearing appears necessary, two persons (petitioners) will be asked to sign a petition form. After the form has been filled out and signed, the Circuit Court is notified.
    2. A pre-commitment investigation is conducted by the community mental health program. The mental health worker conducting the investigation will interview the allegedly mentally ill person at home or in some other familiar setting if possible.
    3. A copy of the investigation report will be sent to the court.
  3. Court Hearing
    Upon receipt of the investigation report:
    1. the court will order that a hearing be held or will dismiss the petition, depending on the recommendation of the investigator.
    2. the allegedly mentally ill person is notified, and a copy of the investigation report and a hearing citation are given to the person and his or her attorney if a hearing is ordered.
    3. the court will conduct a hearing to determine whether or not the person requires involuntary commitment. The person will have an attorney at the hearing.
  4. Court Decision
    Upon completion of the hearing, the court will decide one of four courses of action:
    1. to end the hearing because the person is not mentally ill, or
    2. to release the person and dismiss the case because the person agrees to voluntary treatment, or
    3. to release the person conditionally to the custody of a responsible relative or other interested party who is willing and able to care for the person, or
    4. to commit the person involuntarily to the State Mental Health Division for up to 180 days (six months) of treatment.
  5. Involuntary Commitment.
    If the court's decision is to commit the person involuntarily to the Mental Health Division the community mental health program will arrange admission to a treatment facility, which will serve the person's needs.
    1. The person is placed in the treatment facility for up to 180 days of treatment and care. The person may be conditionally released to the community during that time if the need for inpatient care diminishes to a point that the person appears able to continue treatment successfully in the community.
    2. At the end of the 180-day period, either the person will be released or the Mental Health Division will certify to the court that the person is in need of further treatment for up to another 180 days. The person has the right to protest this action, in which case the court is required to conduct another hearing.

If you have questions, please view our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.





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Lebanon, OR 97355

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Sweet Home, OR 97386

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Open on some Fridays, call ahead to confirm.

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see Crisis Services information

Other Resources

Oregon Department of Human Services
Oregon Mental Health
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Oregon Advocacy Center
Internet Mental Health
New Solutions Referral Form
Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network
All MH Links

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