October is Depression Education and Awareness Month. Depression and other mental health issues cut across all demographics and aspects of society, so it is no surprise that they also figure prominently in the legal field. The following is a short list of resources on the subject of mental health and the law:
- Law and Psychology Review (Database Identifier: LPSYR)
This annual periodical covers multiple topics in the fields of law and psychology, including the death penalty, juror selection, and juvenile rights.
- Psychology, Public Policy, and Law (Database Identifier: PSYPPL)
The editorial board of this journal is composed of psychologists and lawyers, so it is especially suited for the task of analyzing the intersection of law and mental health.
- Mental Disability Law: Civil and Criminal (File MDLCC)
This treatise addresses mental illness and law in several aspects, some of which are: involuntary committal; rights to treatment (or to refuse it); and competency issues of the mentally ill in a court of law, including the insanity defense.
- Larson’s Workers’ Compensation (File LARSON)
Larson’s covers mental health issues in terms of workplace safety and compensation claims. It is special for its focus on differences in state law.
- Crime, Punishment and Mental Illness: Law and the Behavioral Sciences in Conflict by Patricia and Steven Erickson (ISBN 0813543371)
The Ericksons delve into the problem of the mentally ill in prisons, and the issues that arise therein: the standards use to determine competency in court; the lack of mental treatment in prison; and the special questions of sex offenders and mentally ill juveniles.
- Legal Aspects of Mental Capacity by Bridgit Dimond (ISBN 9781405133593)
For the layperson, this book helps to make practical sense of the Mental Capacity Act of 2005, which details the procedures for making decisions on behalf of those who cannot give informed consent.
- Evaluation of Capacity to Consent to Treatment and Research by Scott Y.H. Kim (ISBN 9780195322958)
Kim’s book evaluates the foundations, history and use in court of an individual’s competency to submit to treatment and research.
Websites of Interest
- Information about Insurance Coverage for Psychological Services: Resources on the Mental Health Parity Law (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/parity-law-resources.aspx)
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act equalizes insurance coverage of mental health visits to those of physical health visits, eliminates the cap on annual visits to mental health professionals, and extends coverage to more Americans than were covered previously. The American Psychological Association has other valuable and informative links on this page as well.
- International Academy of Law and Mental Health (http://www.ialmh.org/template.cgi?content=index.html)
IALMH holds a congress every other year, bringing together experts in social sciences, health and law, in order to bring a comprehensive look at the issues that are unique to the legal and mental health fields. They also publish a quarterly journal in order to disseminate research more quickly.
- International Journal of Forensic Mental Health (http://www.iafmhs.org/publications/journal-ijfmh.html)
This journal focuses on comparative forensic practices on an international level, especially in the areas of criminal responsibility, competency issues, risk assessment, and treatment.
Join me in honoring Depression Education and Awareness Month.
Jennifer Dismukes Vail
Diversity Committee Chair, SLA Legal Division