Adult (A person 18 years old or older or a child sixteen or older):
If you know a person, mentally ill, needing Emergency Commitment because of harm to self or others, contact the local mental health center. Oconee County Mental Health Clinic is located at 115 Carter Park Drive, Seneca, SC 29678. Do not come to the Probate Court first; go to the appropriate Mental Health Center before coming to Probate Court. The Probate Court can only assist after the Mental Health Center has done an initial screening.
If the Adult is seen by the Mental Health Center and it is determined that hospitalization is required, the Adult can be transported to a facility. If the Adult refuses to come to the Mental Health Center for an evaluation, then you may bring necessary document issued to you from the Mental Health Center to the Probate Court and seek an Order of Detention. You must know the location of the individual! Law Enforcement cannot pick up the person without an address. It is also helpful if you know whether the person is in the County or a municipality within Oconee County.
Upon finding that the individual needs hospitalization, he or she will be transported to a facility for treatment. The individual will be assigned an attorney by the Probate Court and will have a hearing within 15 days after the Order of Continued Hospitalization to determine whether he or she will need further inpatient treatment or whether the person can be released to outpatient treatment. If so desired, individuals may hire private counsel.
When Involuntary Commitment is not needed on an emergency basis, you must go to the Mental Health Center to complete documents for a Judicial Commitment. This is appropriate for situations where the individual is engaged in a pattern of behavior that will likely cause harm to himself or others. The individual can be brought in by law enforcement if necessary for the evaluation. If the examiners find that involuntary treatment is required, a hearing is scheduled to decide whether or not the individual needs treatment in a hospital or as an outpatient. In either type of commitment, the Court may order inpatient, outpatient, or a combination of treatments.
Children (A person under the age of sixteen):
A child under the age of sixteen can receive treatment upon the consent of the legal custodian. If a child will not cooperate with the parent in obtaining treatment, the same procedures outlined in the Adult section must be followed. In most respects children ages 16 and older are treated as adults and can seek admittance at a facility for treatment.