In Arizona, people can be sent involuntarily for a mental health exam after any concerned party applies for a court-ordered evaluation, which can lead to mandated treatment.
Stella Bay, the police chief for Pima, said the college could initiate an involuntary evaluation only if a student posed “an imminent danger.”
But that assertion seemed to reflect a misunderstanding of the state’s laws regarding involuntary evaluations. Dr. Waterman, of the Southern Arizona Mental Health Corporation, said a mandated evaluation required only some evidence of danger. “It’s a broader standard,” she said. “And it costs nothing to make a phone call and talk about it and consult with a professional.”
Since the weekend shootings, the number of petitions for mandated exams at Dr. Waterman’s clinic has increased, she said, presumably because of wide awareness of the issue now. In fact, Ms. Bay called in a case on Monday about a Pima student, Dr. Waterman said. The police brought the student right to a hospital to be evaluated.
College’s Policy on Troubled Students Raises Questions
By A. G. SULZBERGER and TRIP GABRIEL
Published: January 13, 2011
and see: A Predictable Tragedy in Arizona by E. Fuller Torrey