Q. What do I do if someone I know is a danger to themselves or others and won’t seek voluntary treatment?
A. If you believe someone you know is a danger to themselves or others and won’t seek voluntary treatment, you can contact the Beadle County Sheriff’s Department at (605) 353-8424. The Sheriff’s Department oversees the filing of the petitions, and will assist you with filling out the petition and listing the facts which you believe indicate the need for involuntary commitment. The Sheriff’s Department will also inform you of the time and place of the hearing where the Board of Mental Illness will decide whether to commit the person for treatment.
Q. If I file a petition to have someone committed, do I need to hire my own attorney?
A. No. The State’s Attorney’s Office represents the petitioner at the hearing, so there is no need for you to hire your own attorney.
Q. Will I have to testify in front of my loved one/family member that I am asking to have committed?
A. The State’s Attorney’s Office realizes that family members and loved ones are sometimes reluctant to testify because they are afraid the mentally ill person will be angry with them or blame them if he/she is committed. The State’s Attorney’s Office will be sensitive to that, and if there is enough evidence without calling you as a witness, we will try not to. However, in some cases the petitioner will need to testify. In those cases, the State’s Attorney’s Office will advise you that you may tell your loved on/family member that you don’t want to testify, but that we are requiring you to.
Q. What happens to the mentally ill person if they are committed for treatment?
A. If a person is found to need treatment, they will be committed to the Human Services Center in Yankton, South Dakota for in-patient treatment for a period not to exceed 90 days.