The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the “Baker Act,” is a Florida statute allowing for involuntary “examination” (otherwise known as involuntary commitment) of an individual. It can be initiated by a court, law enforcement officer, physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker.
“Examinations” may last up to 72 hours (not counting weekends and holidays.)
The act was named for a Florida state representative, Maxine Baker, who served as chair of a House Committee on mental health and was the sponsor of the bill.
The nickname of the legislation has led to the term “Baker Act” as a verb, such as “he was Baker Acted” when an individual is forcibly committed. Use of “Baker Acting” as a verb has become prevalent as a slang term for involuntary commitment in other regions of the United States besides Florida.
The number ofÂ Miami-Dade students taken for involuntary psychiatric examination byÂ school police has almost exactly doubled in the last five years. Read more about this here. At least 646 times this year, or more than 3 times per school day, Miami-Dade school police have handcuffed a student and taken him or her to a mental health facility under the Baker Act rules.
There were no “school police” when I was in school. What has changed?
Could it be related to the proliferation of addictive, violence-causing psychiatric drugs among school children? That might be too obvious to CCHR Supporters; but it is still a mystery to much of the society at large. Help us spread the word!
Click here for more information about involuntary psychiatric commitment.