Mental Health Part II

6. Can Guardianship assist us in caring for our mentally ill family member?

It should be noted that there is very clear guidance by our Appeals Courts as to what decisions a Guardian may make in terms of psychiatric care and treatment. It is limited and very fact specific.

7. Our mentally ill loved one is accused of committing a crime. What can we do?

Seek legal help immediately from attorneys well versed in both criminal and mental health law. Time is of the essence when a person struggling with a mental illness enters the criminal justice system. Do not presume that law enforcement will be sensitive to your loved one's disability. Statements, actions and other evidence will likely be used against your loved one in a criminal prosecution.

8. What is a Mental Health Warrant?

New York's Mental Hygiene Law provides the legal framework for a family member (and certain other individuals) to make a legal application before a Supreme Court Judge for a Warrant to produce an alleged mentally ill person before the Court. If the Judge is satisfied that the Petitioner (usually a family member) has made a sufficient showing that the alleged mentally ill person is in need of immediate hospitalization for observation, such an Order will generally be granted.

9. How does New York State's new Family Healthcare Decisions Act affect my child's mental health care?

Recent passage of the Family Healthcare Decisions Act (FHCDA) has varying impact on psychiatric and/or medical care and is very fact specific. It is best to review hospital policy on this issue and to consult with a health care legal professional to navigate the myriad of issues surrounding care and the FHCDA.

10. What public benefits can I secure for my mentally ill loved one?

Benefits can include Medicaid, SSI, SSD, Section 8 Housing, Food Stamps, private insurance and many others. The important thing to focus on is preparation and knowledge. Most benefits have lengthy and complicated application processes. Additionally, one should never quit at a first denial. It is best to seek assistance if there is any doubt when considering which benefits are most suitable for your loved ones.

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