An Introduction to Mental Health Law


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About This Course

Mental Health Law crosses multiple boundaries in everyday legal practice. Attorneys face issues of mental capacity in executing Wills, Trusts, Advance Directives for health care decision making, and other planning documents; matrimonial and family law attorneys face issues of clients and others in their cases who suffer from serious mental illness, substance abuse, psychological disorders and developmental disabilities; criminal attorneys have cases involving those with mental health issues and/or substance abuse who become entangled in the criminal justice system, but who belong more appropriately in mental health treatment and rehabilitation; entertainment lawyers have clients who also present with these concerns and whose careers and livelihoods hinge on addressing these concerns and intervening early and constructively; and the list through the legal specialties goes on and on. In New York State, voluntary and involuntary admission and retention is governed by Article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law (Sections 9.13, 9.27, 9.31, 9.33, 9.35, 9.37), Section 9.43 governs Mental Health Warrants, and Section 9.60 is the Kendra's Law/Assisted Outpatient Treatment statute; Rivers v. Katz is the leading case governing refusal of treatment and overriding this refusal; Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law is the guardianship statute, addressing capacity determinations and functional limitations in individuals who need someone to make personal needs and property management decisions for them, and interspersed with the law are those mental health issues which require the coordination and integration with the mental health clinical system as well. This session will explore the myriad issues and challenges in the Mental Health arena and it impact on the law.

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