Experts alarmed by increase in Baker Acts

Experts alarmed by increase in Baker Acts

Dr. Steve Pittman, the chief operating officer at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare and a clinical psychologist, likes to think of the Baker Act as mental health ER.

“The Baker Act is designed as the ultimate safety net,” Pittman said.

People who are Baker Acted in Gainesville are taken to either UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital or Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. Within the first 24 hours, a psychiatrist decides if a person really needs to be there and if that person can make decisions about their mental health care, Pittman said.

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