Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do I get the court to order a psych evaluation?

My son has had various issues over the years, and has already had several psych evaluations (one was ordered while he was in Juvie); but he’s been VERY good at gaming the system. Even therapists who claim to have seen it all, and know all the tricks kids pull, have been fooled by him.

In the last 6 months or so, he has been convinced that everyone is trying to “set him up”–frame him for all kinds of crimes–and that he is being videotaped everywhere he goes. If we use the “wrong” hand gestures while talking to him, he gets upset because he’s convinced that we are signaling somebody. The government is spying on him, the mafia wants him dead. He talks to an “angel” who constantly warns him about the apocalypse. Lately, the story is that Donald Trump is his bio dad, and we are somehow using him to get money and keep it from him. You get the picture. He needs a new diagnosis, beyond depression and “possible ADHD.” I’ve been told some drugs will make the user mimic schizophrenia symptoms, and I know he takes all kinds of stuff.

He is in trouble with the court, and the lawyers say, “You can make them give him a psych evaluation,” but when I ask who I contact, or who “them” is, they aren’t sure, and give me phone numbers for crisis lines. He is a legal adult now, so I don’t have the power I did when he was a minor.

I realize every state has its own laws, but does anyone have experience with anything like this? He has no insurance, because they won’t cover him if he refuses to work and doesn’t have a diagnosed condition to excuse it–but how do we get the diagnosis?

As you can see, I’m lost here…

Hi - Check out this information - find your state and identify the relevant laws and go from there:


(also - if these links don’t work - I’ve attached the document below - just click on it.

Initiating_Court-Ordered_Treatment.pdf (484.9 KB)

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More info here:

And another good resource: See link below.

If you are one of the more than 8 million Americans providing care to an adult with a mental health issue, you know the ups and downs that come with this responsibility. The pride and relief that soar when your loved one is safe and stable in recovery. The fear and crisis that result if they are unstable and cycling through ERs, hospitals, jails or the streets.

If your loved one is among the roughly half of people with severe bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who do not recognize their own need for treatment (a condition known as anosognosia), you may find it necessary to seek involuntary intervention to stop a downward psychiatric spiral or reduce danger to the individual or others.

The more you know about the mental illness treatment system and the conditions affecting your loved one, the better equipped and more effective your advocacy will be.

The following resources may help.

If he’s already in trouble with the court, I would go in and talk to the district attorney or prosecutor & explain the situation.

They may be willing to help even though they are the ones who would be going for a guilty verdict.

The judge would probably have to sign off on the actual order, but most judges take the recommendation of the DA/prosecutor very seriously.

(In most places, you can’t get in to talk to the judge because they’re supposed to be impartial, but you shouldn’t have any problem getting an appt to speak to the prosecutor. I’ve done it in the past for other issues when a family member has been in trouble, not for mental illness - just for being stupid.)

I’m surprised the attorney you’re working with hasn’t suggested filing some type of motion with the court to do this - or went to talk to the prosecutor himself. All the lawyers know the prosecutors - they talk like old friends in the courtroom.

I feel like this judge and I are old friends by now! It was BOTH lawyers who recommended that we insist on the evaluation–but when I said “Who do I contact to get that started?” they didn’t know.

Son has court tomorrow, so I’ll go where I’ve gone to file other motions, and see if there’s some kind of form to get the ball rolling.

I’m the victim in most of the 8 or 10 citations my son was arrested for (domestic violence), so I talk to the prosecutor, and my husband talks to the defense, so son will have an advocate.

I just had my son involuntarily committed this past Tuesday by going to general sessions court and filling out pw. Sheriff went and picked him up and took him to pathways. He was back home 5 hrs later!! That was so disheartening!!

Where we live, the defense lawyer files the petition with the court for psych evaluation.

So my “best” advice so far is that he commit a felony! That will send him to Superior court instead, and those judges have more power than city judges. Yeah. Totally charming idea.

Dug through old paperwork from son’s first residential treatment center, and we may be able to get him insurance from the state after all. If that works, we finally have a starting point to get the evaluation, and can go from there.

Sheyelo: I hear ya! Once son calms down, he’s “fine,” and is released. “He’s really going to try this time. He needs some support, but he’s got a good plan, and has his head together.” AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Really, really, really need that diagnosis, so I never have to hear that he was “just having a hard time” from someone who thinks I’m an overprotective, overbearing mom who can’t deal with the fact that he’s human.

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