The Florida Baker Act…. Also known as the Florida Mental Health Act is a law that was passed to ensure and regulate emergency mental health treatment services for those suffering from a mental illness. This law is meant to protect all people with serious mental illnesses in the State of Florida.
If the situation proves serious enough after the initial exam, the mental health facility might petition to place the patient under IIP.
- IIP is the same thing as civil commitment. The individual will be admitted for further mental health treatment beyond stabilization of the mental health crisis and without the patient’s consent.
- If your loved one is in need of urgent care and you are concerned that they are in immediate danger, you can call your local law enforcement and inform them of the situation. An officer can take a person who displays outward signs of the necessary criteria to a receiving facility for an examination.
- A court can enter an ex parte order (order for the benefit of one party) stating that the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination. The court may hear sworn testimony on the subject and must set forth the findings on which the court based its conclusion.
- A police officer can take a person into custody and deliver them to a psychiatric facility for examination if the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination.
- A physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker can execute a certificate, which states that the mental healthcare provider examined the person in question within the preceding 48 hours and that the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary examination. The healthcare provider must also set forth the reasons supporting his/her conclusions.(§394.463, Fla. Stat.).
Okay, so what does all this shit mean. It means that If I look at you strange walking down the street, you can inform an officer and have me Baker Acted. If you are pulled over for speeding and the officer decides he just doesn’t like you, he/ she can have you Baker Acted. If you sister decides that she doesn’t want you in the house no more because you ate the last piece of cake, she can call the police and say that you are crazy and she wants to have you Baker Acted. I learned that most people in Florida did not know what the hell a Baker Act was until it was enforced on them.
So this is where my nerves get bad. In order to be released from the “crazy house”, you have to have 3 of the following things happen:
- File a petition with the court, so that they can say whether or not that believe that you are stable enough to leave the psyche ward.
- A Psychiatrist has to monitor you for at least 72 hours and decide whether or not you are stable enough to leave the psyche ward. If they think that you are okay, they can put you on Baker Act Probation. Baker Act Probation means that you can go home to sleep, but you have to bring your ass back to the psyche ward from 6 a.m. till 9 p.m. You must report to the mental health facility that you are assigned. You must report to the state’s assigned psychiatrist.
- Have your daddy call the White House and get you pardoned.
By the way, all of the formal legal stuff that was typed up above came from Google. I am not putting any footnotes in this book. So to hell with that and the state of Florida. Thank you Google for all of your help.
Okay, back to what happened. In the “Doom Room”, you have an array of things. The first thing that surprised me was that this facility had both males and females together. There are no doors in the “Doom Room”, except for the matrix room where I took my picture, the nurses station, the social worker room, and the psychiatrist office. There are two phones on the wall. In the middle of the “Doom Room”, is a cafeteria style seating area. It looks likes the prison visitor’s table for four. There are bathrooms every few feet, no doors. There are two showers right next to each other with no doors, no curtains, and no sign to distinguish who can shower in which one. There is no soap. There is a washer and dryer machine, that is rusted and abandoned. Oh, did I mention the “Patients”.
The “Doom Room” is the “top of the line mental facility”. Meaning they have every variety of mental illness in this joint and it appears as if they are competing with each other to see who is the craziest. I sit down at one of the tables with my newly acquired necessities and begin to peel the orange. All of a sudden the Queen of Trailer Park Avalon comes behind me and takes the damn orange. Now, if this were you, would you be yelling “Give me my shit back” or “Are you crazy”? No. You know why? Queen says that she is the most “Felonious Outlaw in the state of Florida”. I ain’t gone argue with you boo. Your unwashed everything can have that damn orange six ways to Sunday. There is a black man sitting on the far right backside of the jail visitor’s room/ cafeteria. He has , at least since I have been here, spoken about 36 different languages and tongues. He is convinced that he is a lieutenant and everybody in this joint and all of the little people around him needs to follow his orders. I never got to see the little people, but the air did. Then there is Maria. Maria is walking around like she is the Queen of Scary Movies. She is damn near floating as she walks and she hasn’t said or looked at anyone or anything for that matter.
I am still looking around trying to figure this shit out and then Carol pops up next to me looking like she just got off a ride at Disney World. An orderly approaches at the same time and Carol is begging him to assign me to sleep next to her. The man says ok and Carol starts jumping up and down like a damn cheerleader. She proceeds to tell me that she has her own stash of color pencils and she will share them with me when no one is looking. Ok. Carol looks like she is in heaven and she skips her ass off somewhere. This place is like the club in “Coming To America”, when Peaches tells Eddie Murphy that “she is peaches and I am da best, all the deejays want to feel my breast. Hiccup, Hiccup, Hiccup, Hic”. So John comes over to my table and he sits directly across from me. He looks exactly like Sean Connery and I am looking at him hard to determine whether or not he is Sean Connery. He is carrying a book and what appears to be a newspaper that is not folded back right. He looks just as calm and cool. Hair is cut. Beard on “fleek” and you can tell he is wondering how did I get my ass landed in here. He looks at me and he says put your hand out under the table. “What”? I put my hand under the table and he puts a paper bag in my hand. I pull the bag up and he says, “don’t open it. Put it under your sheet. When the lights go off, pull it out and you can go from there.” Later on that night when the lights did go out, John had given me some graham crackers, two little things of apple juice, some potato chips, and an apple. It wasn’t much, but I ate it all and was truly thankful.
Now enters Susan. Susan looks at me and she walks straight to me and she is in a hurry to meet me. What the hell? Was I like the new toy or something? As soon as she sits next to me, I am immediately gagging. Susan isn’t wearing scrubs. She has on some wool pajamas and a thick ass robe. I am trying to see if she is going to catch a fire. It is April in Tampa, there should be a law against wearing or selling wool in this state. So what had me all gagged up? Susan smells like hell. It’s like a mixture between extremely sour milk and cheap ass lotion trying to cover it up. I already have a headache and now this. Susan introduces herself and is what I would consider extremely formal… Ok. Now when she is talking to me you can see how yellow and thick whatever that is, is on her teeth. The dentist would have said “just forget it”. She really is a sweet lady. Her blonde hair is cut into what used to be a slamming Bob and her eyes are sparkling green. After the introductions, she asks me if I would like to play Jenga or if I wanted to put a puzzle together. I tell her in the most polite way, that I had a really bad headache and I did not think that I would be a good player at this point. “Big Shirley” comes out with hair glued to the back of her neck. She yells out, “Alright yall. It’s lights out. Yall got to get up here from these tables and lay on your cot”. Cot?????
Carol comes around with her “Mickey Mouse” self and she is hyped to tell me to come move my cot next to hers and we can protect each other. Protect each other???? She lays down as I am trying to navigate some paper towels onto the rubber sheet and the rubber mat. It is no way in hell that I am sleeping on any of this straight bare. She says, ” I have to get some sleep, because when they take me to do tests tomorrow, I don’t know how I will feel afterwards”. She continues talking and proceeds to tell me that she and her husband are extra in love and maybe he will visit her tomorrow. She says that he shouldn’t be mad by now regarding her taking 326 Tylenol. Now that got my attention. She rambles off some other things as if she just didn’t say that she swallowed 326 Tylenol at one time. After her rant, she looks at me and says, “Why did they put you in here?”. I said, “I have no fucking clue”…..
I know, “I should write a book”. Love you guys for following. I am putting the next one together soon.