Before an audience of physicians, psychiatrists, nursing staff, social workers and other medical and mental health professionals and service providers, Professor H. Scott Fingerhut opened the recent Third Annual Suicide Prevention Conference focusing on Youth Suicide: Reality and Misconceptions, at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.
His presentation, “Baker Act and Beyond: Treatment and Transition,” addressed the law, history, and proper application of Florida’s Mental Health Act, which provides for emergency, involuntary mental health services — including hospitalization, examination, treatment, and temporary detention — for people impaired because of mental illness and unable to determine their treatment needs for themselves.
“The attendees were thoughtful and engaged,” Professor Fingerhut noted, “especially concerning ever-intricate family dynamics and the Baker Act’s grave potential for abuse. Pressure is a privilege,” he conveyed, adding that “without question, the room was attuned to our mutual professional reality, that despite the urgencies of any present moment, the way we smartly and sensitively serve those with mental health problems does more than just change lives, it saves lives.”
Conference host, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children with more than 650 attending physicians and over 130 pediatric sub-specialists.
Professor Fingerhut is the Assistant Director of the FIU Law Trial Advocacy Program. He teaches Trial Advocacy, Pretrial Practice, and Criminal Procedure. He also serves as a Faculty Fellow and Director of Pre-Law Programs for The Honors College at FIU.