Options to help someone
with a severe mental illness
There are many options to help someone with a severe mental illness. If you are considering the CARE Act process, you must show that other options with less restrictions, like the ones listed below, do not work for the person's situation before you will be able to begin the CARE Act process.
Commercial Health Insurance
Check to see if the person has commercial health insurance. If so, contact the health plan or insurer and ask about support and services that are available through the person’s plan.
County Behavioral Health Agency
County behavioral health agencies offer many services, from counseling, psychiatrists, psychologists, or therapists, to full service partnerships, rehabilitative mental health services, peer support services, intensive case management, crisis services, residential care, substance disorder treatment, assertive community treatment, and supportive housing. County behavioral health agencies are required to provide services to Medi-Cal beneficiaries who qualify for specialty mental health and substance use disorder services. County behavioral health agencies may also provide services to a broader population, depending on local funding and eligibility criteria, without a court order.
A full-service partnership is designed for a person with a severe mental illness who would benefit from an intensive service program. Full-service partnerships are collaborative relationships between the county and the person, and when appropriate the person’s family, through which the county plans for and provides the full spectrum of community services. A full-service partnership can assist a person who is homeless, involved with the justice system, or uses crisis psychiatric care frequently.
Assertive Community Treatment
Assertive community treatment is a form of mental health care provided in a community setting to help a person become independent and integrate into the community as they recover.
Advance Health Care Directive or Psychiatric Advance Directive
Find out if the person has an advance health care directive or psychiatric advance directive, allowing someone else to make healthcare decisions for them when they cannot.
Supported Decision Making
Supported decision making is an individualized process of supporting and accommodating an adult with a disability so that they can make life decisions on their own. The person with a severe mental illness chooses the people who support them, including family, friends, staff, and professionals. The supporters help the person understand, consider, and communicate decisions. Supporters also give the person the ability to make their own informed decisions.
Services and Community-based Organizations
Consider looking into local social services and community-based organizations.
If other options with less limits than the CARE Act do not work for the person's situation, continue to these next steps:
The CARE Act
Get information about what the CARE Act is, eligibility requirements and how to start the CARE process.
Visit a Self-Help Center
Each court has a Self-Help Center where you can get free legal help with court forms and answers to legal questions about CARE Act proceedings. The Self-Help Centers can assist you with filling out CARE Act forms.