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Access to Psychiatric Treatment Services for Adults

Individuals 18 years of age or older are admitted to the South Dakota Human Services (SDHSC) by voluntary application for admission or through an involuntary commitment process.  The criteria for voluntary and involuntary admission are defined in state statute.  Individuals with exceptional medical problems requiring care beyond reasonable capacity of the SDHSC are not eligible for admission.  Voluntary admissions are accepted on a bed availability basis.

Pre-admission arrangements are made by calling 605.668.3138 or 605.668.3100 after 9 p.m. and weekends. Information is required pertaining to the individual’s presenting problems, psychiatric treatment history, medical history, family contacts and insurance provider. If the individual is being referred from a treatment facility, the treatment records should be faxed to 605.668.3429.  Additional records may be requested prior to granting medical clearance for admission.  For further explanation of required records and medical clearance please see the attached links.

HSC Medical Clearance Form
Medical Clearance General Guidelines
Pre-Admission Request Form

Voluntary Adult Admission

Any individual 18 years of age or older who understands the nature of voluntary inpatient treatment and signs the voluntary application for treatment can be considered for admission if the following requirements are met:
  1. If, after examination, the staff psychiatrist determines the individual is clinically suitable for treatment.
  2. A less restrictive treatment alternative is inappropriate or unavailable.
  3. The individual is in need of and will likely benefit from treatment which is available at the facility.
  4. The individual understands the types of treatment available.
  5. The individual does not have any medical needs which are beyond the capacity of the SDHSC.

Ways to Initiate Voluntary Admission

  1. Self-admission: Must be capable of providing informed consent.
  2. By Guardian or Power of Attorney (POA): Substituted consent by Guardian or POA is authorized if supporting documents are available.
  3. By Next of Kin: Consent by next of kin is authorized for a period up to 14 days or longer providing a petition for guardianship has been filed within 14 days of admission.

If possible, individuals are encouraged to utilize less restrictive outpatient services of the community mental health centers in their county of residence prior to seeking voluntary inpatient services at SDHSC.  Referral sources are informed of bed availability. All individuals presenting for voluntary admission will be assessed to determine if they meet criteria for admission.  Voluntary admissions are encouraged to arrive between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  State law requires a voluntary admission fee of $600.00. If the individual is unable to pay, they should be encouraged to contact the county welfare office in their county of residence or county auditor.  The individual should be encouraged to bring a copy of their insurance, Medicaid and/or Medicare card.


Any individual 18 years of age or older can be admitted to the SDHSC on an involuntary basis pursuant to the state statutes pertaining to the mental health, developmental disability and criminal code. Examples of involuntary commitments include the following:
  • Emergency Mental Illness Commitment
  • 90 Day Mental Illness Commitment
  • Emergency Developmental Disability Commitment
  • Tribal Mental Illness Commitment
  • Transfer from Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • Forensic Evaluation for assessment of competency and insanity
  • Court Ordered Treatment for competency restoration


If an individual is a danger to themselves or others due to a severe mental illness, they could be subject to an involuntary mental illness commitment if they meet the following criteria:
  1. The individual has a severe mental illness.
  2. Due to the severe mental illness, the individual is a danger to self or others or has a chronic disability.
  3. The individual needs and is likely to benefit from treatment. 


  1. Any person 18 years of age or older can petition for a commitment when an individual is alleged to have a mental illness and immediate intervention is required for protection of self-harm and harm to others or is committable pursuant to a chronic disability.  A petition can be obtained by contacting the States Attorney’s office or law enforcement in the county where the individual is found.  Upon completion of the petition, the petition is submitted to the States Attorney or the Mental Illness County Board Chair in the county where the individual is found.  See HSC Forms for example of the petition and chronic disability form. 
  2. Upon review of the petition the Mental Illness Board Chair determines whether there is probable cause.
  3. If the individual is believed to meet criteria for commitment, the Mental Illness Board Chair signs an Emergency Warrant for Detention which authorizes law enforcement to take the individual into custody.
  4. Law enforcement takes the individual into protective custody and advises the individual both orally and in writing of their rights.  See notification of rights
  5. Within 24 hours after apprehension the individual must be evaluated by a Qualified Mental Health Professional or be released. The examiner must advise the individual of the nature and purpose of the examination, including the fact that it is being performed to determine whether custody should continue and that the information in the examination may be used as evidence in an involuntary commitment hearing.  See HSC Forms for an example of a Qualified Mental Health Professional Certificate.
  6. Once the examination is completed, the Mental Illness Board Chair determines whether the individual meets criteria for involuntary commitment.  If so, the individual is transported by law enforcement to an appropriate regional facility, including the SDHSC, pending a hearing.  If commitment criteria are not met the individual is immediately released.
  7. If the individual is found to meet commitment criteria, he/she is entitled to a hearing within five days after being taken into custody, within six days if there is a Saturday and Sunday involved or seven days if a holiday is involved in that time period.

For further information on the mental illness commitment process please see HSC Forms for diagrams which provide a step by step outline of the commitment process involving initiation by law enforcement or petition filed with the States Attorney or Board Chair.