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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

Forced Treatment

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment – Citations and Abstracts

Under Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), a person with a serious mental health condition is mandated by a court to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring the person to take medication and sometimes directing where the person can live and what his or her daily activities must include.

Research on the effectiveness and impact of this practice, which involves compulsory treatment, raises concerns about the negative effects and the necessity of this approach. The following abstracts summarize some of this research.

To access research and citations on Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), click here (PDF, 157KB, 5 pages).

Research on people with mental health diagnoses and violence: citations and abstracts

Recent tragic events such as those that happened at Sandy Hook, the Navy Yard, and Fort Hood have led some advocates to support Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) as a solution to the complex problem of violence in our country.

To access research and citations documenting the weak link between mental health diagnoses and violence, click here (PDF, 156KB, 5 pages).

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says

Under Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC),1 a person with a serious mental health condition is mandated by a court to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring the person to take medication and sometimes directing where the person can live and what his or her daily activities must include. Proponents of IOC claim that it is effective in reducing violent behavior, incarcerations, and hospitalizations among individuals with serious mental health conditions.2 However, repeated studies have shown no evidence that mandating outpatient treatment through a court order is effective; to the limited extent that court-ordered outpatient treatment has shown improved outcomes, these outcomes appear to result from the intensive services that have been made available to participants in those clinical trials rather than from the existence of a court order mandating treatment.

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says (PDF, 152KB, 4 pages)

Forced Treatment and Constitutional Rights: Can They Coexist?: 2013 Justice Summit

Position Statement on Alternatives to Force and Coercion, October 2, 2009

Alternatives to Force (also available as a PDF (72KB, 2 pages)

Judi Chamberlin debates E. Fuller Torrey, MD on Involuntary Treatment

Should Forced Medication be a Treatment Option in Patients with Schizophrenia? (takes you to the National Empowerment Center website)

Issues of involuntary intervention with core values and principles (PDF, 23KB, 2 pages)