Tim’s Law is the common name given to court ordered outpatient treatment for people with serious mental illness. Tim’s Law allows family members, mental health providers, and law enforcement to provide help for someone who is suffering from a serious mental illness. The intention of Tim’s Law is to prevent a person in need of mental health treatment from being cycled through jail or state hospitals, and to instead get them a treatment plan that suits their individual needs.
To get the Tim’s Law process started, a petition must be filed in District Court. The petition must show that a person with a mental illness will, without treatment:
- Presents a danger or threat to himself or others;
- Suffers severe mental, emotional or physical harm;
- Will have impaired judgment, reasoning, functioning or capacity to recognize reality;
- Will have substantially diminished ability to make informed decisions regarding his/her need for sustained medical treatment.
The person must also have a symptom called anosognosia, which means that they have a lack of insight into their own illness.
It is important to understand that not all individuals with a severe mental illness will qualify for Tim’s Law. This process is designed to interrupt the lapse in treatment-jail-hospitalization-release-repeat cycle that occurs within a small subset of the community. In order to qualify an individual must have been hospitalized twice in the last 48 months due to repeated nonadherence with mental health treatment, or within the last 24 months failed to abide by treatment which resulted in an act, threat, or attempt at serious physical injury to self or others.
In order to get this petition started, please contact the Nelson County Attorney’s Office at (502)348-1850.
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