Involuntary Commitment Training - Introduction

Welcome to this online learning program on the important topic of Involuntary Commitment.

North Carolina law authorizes court-ordered mental health and substance abuse treatment through a civil process called involuntary commitment. To initiate the commitment process, a patient’s behavior or condition must meet defined legal standards, and the person requesting commitment must follow certain legal procedures. This online learning program explains these legal standards, describes three different procedures, and helps you identify and follow the procedure that is appropriate for you.

Who is this for?

You will benefit from this learning program if you are a primary care provider, such as nurse or physician, who in the course of practice encounters a patient who needs mental health or substance abuse treatment but, due to the severity of his or her illness, is incapable of voluntarily seeking or complying with treatment. You will also benefit from this training if you are a family member of an individual who needs involuntary treatment, or you are a magistrate, mental health professional, law enforcement officer, hospital or school employee helping someone who needs involuntary treatment.

What can I expect?

In this online learning program, you will view presenter materials on your computer screen while listening to the accompanying narration on your speakers or headphones. At points in the program, you will be directed to interact by answering on-screen questions and opening supporting documents and forms.

This program is presented in four modules that together comprise about one hour of instruction--although this time will vary somewhat depending on the amount of time you take to answer questions, and print and review supporting materials referenced in each module. Approximate times to complete each module are provided. To get the most out of the course, we recommend that you set aside enough time to complete at least one module each time you visit the course, remembering to allow time for the on-screen questions and supporting materials.


The UNC School of Government has created this training with the financial support of the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers, or “AHEC” program, specifically the Area L AHEC.  In turn, the Area L AHEC received funding for this project from The Duke Endowment.

Online modules in the Involuntary Commitment and other resources:

Module 0 - Introduction (2-3 min.)

Module 1 - Criteria (15 min.)

Module 2 - Layperson Procedure (18 min.)

Module 3 - Authorized Clinician Procedure (17 min.)

Module 4 - Emergency Procedure (7 min.)





Public Officials - Courts and Judicial Administration Roles
Topics - Courts and Judicial Administration