Behavioral Health Policy Coordination

The role of Behavioral Health Policy Coordination is to assist in coordinating and monitoring community-based programs that address mental health and substance use disorders (behavioral health) in Sarasota County. Working closely with community leaders, advocates, funders and provider agencies, the Behavioral Health Policy Coordinator promotes community collaboration by identifying the needs, priorities and resources of the behavioral health system of care.

The Behavioral Health Stakeholders’ Consortium (BHSC) represents over 70 active members including behavioral health service providers, law enforcement, the court system, the Department of Children and Families, the Sarasota County School Board, consumers of behavioral health services, local hospitals, housing providers and funders. Meetings are held monthly to monitor the overall system of care while addressing emerging trends in behavioral health. As issues arise, work groups are developed to create solution-focused approaches to continually improve behavioral health services and programs.

The Acute Care System Task Force committee includes representatives from all law enforcement agencies, the Sarasota County-funded transportation providers, the receiving facilities, mobile crisis response team, and funders. They meet no less than quarterly to monitor and analyze data that will determine if individuals are moving through the acute care receiving system in a timely and respectful manner. This Task Force has been essential in providing input and review of the Transportation Plan and Behavioral Health Receiving System Plan and will continue to provide oversight to the processes of the acute care system.


Ex-Parte Marchman Act Or Baker Act

An involuntary admissions process using a “Petition and Affidavit Seeking Ex Parte Order Requiring Assessment and Stabilization” may be obtained, completed and filed at the Sarasota County Clerk of Court, Probate Division, located at 2000 Main Street, Sarasota, Florida 34236. (941) 861-7400. Petition must be received by the reviewing judge no later than 4:30 p.m.

The judge may review the petition and enter an appropriate order. Clerk of Court will then process an order that grants the petition so that it can be provided to the Sheriff’s Office prior to the close of business at 5:00 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office will then attempt to locate the individual and provide safe transport to the most appropriate receiving facility for involuntary assessment. Under law, the Marchman Act and Baker Act are civil proceedings, not an arrest.

Marchman Act (F.S 397.675)

Criteria for involuntary admissions, including protective custody, emergency admission, and other involuntary assessment, involuntary treatment, and alternative involuntary assessment for minors, for purposes of assessment and stabilization, and for involuntary treatment.—A person meets the criteria for involuntary admission if there is good faith reason to believe the person is substance abuse impaired and, because of such impairment:
1. Has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use; and either
2(a). Has inflicted, or threatened or attempted to inflict, or unless admitted is likely to inflict, physical harm on himself or herself or another; or
 (b). Is in need of substance abuse services and, by reason of substance abuse impairment, his or her judgment has been so impaired that the person is incapable of appreciating his or her need for such services and of making a rational decision in regard thereto; however, mere refusal to receive such services does not constitute evidence of lack of judgment with respect to his or her need for such services.

Baker Act (F.S. 394.463)

(1). CRITERIA.—A person may be taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination if there is reason to believe that the person has a mental illness and because of his or her mental illness:
(a)1. The person has refused voluntary examination after conscientious explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the examination; or
(2) The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary; and
(b)1. Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well-being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services; or
(b)2. There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior.

Acute Services and Additional Resources

Bayside Center For Behavioral Health

First Step Of Sarasota

Mobile Crisis Responses Team

National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) Sarasota

Serenity Place at Doctor’s Hospital

Transitions at Doctor’s Hospital

Need Assistance?

If you are aware of a family or individual in need of services dial 2-1-1 or 941-308-4357. This is the intake and referral service for related needs.

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