Legal Issues in Mental Health Care

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I. OVERVIEW Legal Issues in Mental HeaIth Care is aimed at the mental health clinician who provides services on either an inpatient or an outpatient basis. It is written for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other therapists to help them understand and manage legal issues in their daily practice. The issues covered apply to therapists who work for an agency or hospital as weil as those who work independently. The book is meant to serve as a handbook, but it also provides a quick resource as legal questions arise which are related to the obligations of the therapist. It ad- dresses the legal issues that confront the clinician. It is not aimed at the clinicianwho specializes in forensie mental health issues, because the information provided does not reach that level of detail or sophistication. Nor is it aimed at the scholar, because our goal is to provide practical information in a clear and concise format. Wehave not addressed the wide array of laws protecting the mentally disabled from discrirnina- tion-most notably, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)and the Fair Housing Act. Most states also have laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, services, and housing. These issues are beyond the scope of this book because we are address- ing the legal issues that arise in providing care, rather than the rights of mentally disabled persons. 11. ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK The book consists of eleven chapters and a Glossary of Legal Terms.