Senate Bill Authorizes Professional Counselors to Perform Emergency Examinations of the Mentally Ill

ATLANTA (February 11, 2013) – The Georgia State Senate passed Senate Bill 65 today by a vote of 51 to 2. Sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), this legislation would authorize licensed professional counselors to perform emergency evaluations of individuals who are mentally ill or alcohol or drug dependent and to issue a certificate stating that such a person requires involuntary treatment.

“There are times when it is necessary to intervene when suspected mental illness is present,” said Unterman. “Providing emergency mental health evaluations can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for a family member, neighbor, or loved one with mental illness. This bill provides a positive step towards providing these individuals with crisis intervention and the services they need.”

Georgia law currently authorizes physicians, psychologists, clinical social workers, and clinical nurse specialists in psychiatric/mental health to execute a certificate stating that he or she has personally examined a person within the preceding 48 hours and determined that the person requires involuntary treatment due to mental illness or alcohol or drug dependency.  This bill authorizes licensed professional counselors to do the same.

Senate Bill 65 will now travel to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2013

For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director