Should Danger to Self Statutes be Repealed and Replaced by Capacity Evaluations? A Discussion with a Psychiatrist and a Person with Lived Experience.

Leigh Nathan, M.D. & Paul Acker

In accordance with their training and understanding of professional liability protection, psychiatrists are compelled to follow what they understand to be statutes pertaining to danger to self. Inspired and informed by the book Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws: Examining Current Approaches to Suicide in Policy and Law, by Susan Stefan, this workshop will prompt discourse between attendees from the healthcare, legal, and lived experience spheres, discussing (1.) The current use of capacity evaluations in non-psychiatric medical evaluations, and (2.) The merits of a proposal to repeal involuntary evaluation or commitment statutes in Connecticut and replace them with a capacity evaluation standard for involuntary treatment and a robust and voluntary home- or community-based system of support and treatment.

Learning Goals/Objectives:

  1. Understand the four components of a capacity evaluation.
  2. Understand the definition of “mental illness” as defined by the United States Supreme Court.
  3. Understand the current state of home- or community-based healthcare services.
  4. Understand the perspective of a person who has experienced involuntary evaluation and commitment.