Jacksonville veteran says mental health facility holding him for week with no hearing
Action News Jax
By: Jenna Bourne
Aug 3, 2018
A combat-disabled veteran told Action News Jax he’s being unnecessarily held against his will at a Jacksonville mental health facility without a hearing.
Robert Mayo, who said he’s already been locked inside River Point Behavioral Health for a week, was initially admitted under Florida’s Baker Act.
The Baker Act allows mental health facilities such as River Point to hold patients for 72 hours if they are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.
Mayo said he should not be a Baker Act patient and he has not gotten the hearing he is entitled to by law.
His wife, Elizabeth Mayo, denies her husband has threatened to harm himself or others.
She said her husband couldn’t get a mental health appointment at the Veterans Affairs facility until until the end of September, so he went to River Point for help.
A week later, she hired an attorney to help get her husband out.
She said their son can barely sleep at night.
“He just lays in there and cries for Daddy, cries for Daddy. Every time he hears a door or something, he’s asking for daddy,” said Elizabeth Mayo.
If a patient is involuntarily committed beyond the 72 hours allowed by the Baker Act, they’re entitled to a hearing within five days.
An Action News Jax Investigation last year revealed only about 2 percent of local Baker Act patients were getting those hearings.
“How are you supposed to feel safe asking for help when you know you can be held indefinitely against your will?” said Robert Mayo, who called Action News Jax from inside the facility, with the help of his attorney. “They can hold you without having to explain themselves to anybody for as long as they want. It’s like going to jail without ever having a set release date.”
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