The Vines Hospital is a designated Baker Act and Marchman Act receiving facility under the Florida Mental Health Law. A person can be taken to a Baker Act receiving facility for an involuntary examination if there is reason to believe they are mentally ill, because they have refused an exam or if they cannot determine whether an exam is necessary. People can be “Baker Acted” if they are a serious danger to themselves or others, or if they are likely to suffer from neglect or harm if current behavior continues.
The Baker Act is the informal name for the Florida Mental Health Act (FS 394). It includes:
A certificate for an involuntary examination may be initiated by any one of the following:
The Baker Act empowers law enforcement officers to initiate an involuntary evaluation of someone if they exhibit any of the following conditions:
It can be hard to know whether you should “Baker Act” someone. You want to be a responsible officer and do the right thing to protect individuals and those nearby, but you are not sure if you should take a person to jail or take them to a Baker Act receiving facility.
This guide has been developed by the Mental Health Coalition of Pinellas County to help you make that decision in the field. We have outlined some common behaviors of those in crisis and summarized important things to know.
1. Your role is not to diagnose but if you have reason to believe someone appears mentally ill, you can decide if that person may be putting himself or herself or others in danger and meets the criteria for a complete evaluation.
2. You do not need to witness all the behaviors personally. You can consider credible eyewitness accounts from others as you determine the need for further assessment.
3. Officers must complete two forms when initiating the Baker Act: Report of Law Enforcement Officer Initiating Involuntary Examination (CF-MH 3052a), and Transportation to Receiving Facility–Part I (CF-MH 3100).
*If substance abuse appears to be the only issue, the Marchman Act may be more appropriate.
NOTE: If you have any doubts, don’t forget to contact your CIT Officers (crisis intervention training) or one of the receiving facilities.