Mental Health Law and Legal Definition

Mental health may affect the determination of a person's legal "competency" to enter in to a binding contract, transfer assets, or participate in a legal proceeding. The provision of mental health services is regulated and, to some extent, publicly supported. The American With Disabilities Act, (ADA) explicitly includes people with mental disabilities, including individuals with psychiatric impairments. It prohibits discrimination in employment (Title I), in the provision of state and local government programs, services and benefits (Title II) and by private businesses and other entities that operate places of "public accommodation" (Title III).

There are laws which protect mentally ill persons from receiving treatment against their will. The procedure by which a person is involuntarily committed to an institution under a civil or criminal statute is subject to the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Courts have held that such statutes must bear some reasonable relation to the purpose for which the individual is committed.

In 1984, the Insanity Defense Reform Act (18 U.S.C. 17) was passed. Generally, it placed the burden of proving insanity on the defendant and it cut on the use of mental illness as a defense. Mental retardation is an issue that has become increasingly raised on criminal appeal, especially in death penalty cases.

Relevant legal forms include:

AOC-SP-203; Involuntary Commitment Order Mentally Ill
AOC-SP-914; Release of Physical and Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Confidential Court Records for Concealed Handgun Permit
Request for Physical or Mental Examination
Authorization to Release Medical and Mental Heath Information
Petition to Commit Defendant for Mental Exam
Motion for Court-Ordered Mental Examination of Defendant
Petition to Commit Defendant for Mental Exam
Order Committing Defendant for Mental Exam
Order Concerning Compentency or Mental Responsibility Determination
Order Directing Emergency Evaluation - Mental Hygiene Law section 943
General, Criminal, Traffic, Civil, Small Claims, Family Court Forms - Continual Release Plan
Order for Conditional Release Plan - Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect
Order for Examination Under 971.16 - Mental Disease or Defect
Order of Commitment - Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect - Conditional Release
Order of Commitment - Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect - Inst. Care Needed
Petition - Mental Illness or Mental Retardation of Parents
Order of Disposition - Mental Illness or Mental Retardation of Parents
Notice of Hearing to Determine Mental Capacity of Petitioner
Motion for Court Ordered Mental Examination of Defendant
Official Probate Forms - Guardianships - Vermont
Order of Evaluation by Qualified Mental Health Professional
Petition to Appoint a Guardian for a Mentally Disabled Adult
Mental Health Care Durable Power of Attorney - Declaration of Mental Health Treatment
Mental Health Care Power of Attorney Statutory Power of Attorney for
Mental Health Care Declaration of Mental Health Care Treatment
Statutory Power of Attorney for Mental Health Care
Declaration for Mental Health Treatment
Mental Health Advance Directive
Revocation of Mental Health Care
Durable Power of Attorney - Declaration of Mental Health Treatment
Revocation of Mental Health Care
Power of Attorney
Revocation of Statutory Power of Attorney for Mental Health Care
Revocation of Declaration of Mental
Health Care Treatment
Revocation of Power of Attorney for Mental Health Care
Revocation of Statutory Power of Attorney for Mental Health Care