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Home » Divisions » Office of Mental Health (OMH) » Mental Health Court

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Mental Health Court

Civil Mental Health court is overseen by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. It is governed by the Mental Health Procedures Act, the Pennsylvania law that establishes rights and procedures for treatment of mentally ill persons. 

Civil Mental Health Court takes place at:

  • Girard Hospital on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Friends Hospital and Albert Einstein Medical Center on Tuesday and Friday

Commitment Defined:

To be committed, a person:

  • needs to be mentally ill AND present a clear and present danger to themselves or others as demonstrated by an act or attempt to harm themselves or others or by making threats to harm self or others with an act of furtherance
  • a person may also be committed if they are unable to provide care for themselves so that there is a "reasonable probability" that death, serious bodily injury or debilitation would occur

The Commitment Process:

After a petitioner files a 302, the hospital has 120 hours (5 days) to have an individual sign in voluntarily (201), release them, or bring them to court for a 303 petition for Extended Involuntary Treatment. If you are the petitioner, you will receive a subpoena to appear in Mental Health Court.

When you arrive at court you will meet with the City Solicitor and be asked a series of questions, including:

  • Why did you file the 302 petition?
  • What is your relationship to the person who was committed?
  • What was he/she doing that made you concerned enough to file the petition?
  • What you did to protect yourself, the patient, or others?

The petition hearing will include testimony from you, the hospital psychiatrist and others. The City Solicitor and the Public Defender (who will defend the client from being committed) will ask questions. The Mental Health Review Officer (MHRO), who acts as the Judge, may also ask questions. The person being committed may choose to testify in their own behalf.

At the conclusion of the testimony and summary arguments, the MHRO makes ruling if the person will be committed or released. The City Solicitor will come to the waiting room and tell you if the person has been committed or released. If someone is released, they may have to go back to the hospital to get their belongings and medication prescriptions.

If a Commitment Petition is Granted:

  • A person on a 303 petition can be committed for up to 20 days of treatment to an inpatient hospital, partial hospital or to outpatient treatment program
  • A hospital may discharge a person whenever they believe treatment is complete, even if it is before the commitment expiration date
  • If the person remains in need of further involuntary treatment, the hospital files a 304 petition for up to 90 days of treatment, and a 305 petition for up to another 180 days
  • There is no limit to the number of 305 petitions a hospital can file as long as treatment is required

City Mental Health (MH) Courts:

  • Einstein MH Court- 5583 Park Ave., (215) 456-7095
  • Friends Hospital MH Court- Roosevelt Blvd. and Adams Ave., (215) 831-4703
  • Girard MH Court- 8th Street & Girard Ave., (215) 787-6998

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