Skip Navigation

Course Directory

Mental Health and the Law

East Baltimore
3rd term
Mental Health
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Synchronous Online
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  1:30 - 3:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
  • Deborah Agus
Deborah Agus

If we have learned anything over the past few years, it is the importance of law and regulations on the nation's health. It is critical to understand the powers and limitations of our president, our courts and our legislatures as well as the interlocking powers of the federal and State governments. It is the goal of this course that you will be conversant on these topics and use this understanding to inform and advocate for your work in safeguarding the public's health.

Covers a myriad of topics that are of concern to policy makers in the field of mental health. Topics include a review of relevant legislation and regulations in the areas of patient rights, consent and guardianship, financing, governance and forensics. Topics are specifically related to issues facing the public mental health system, including the forensic issues for adults and juveniles and financing laws relating to the funding of the mental health systems. Case studies of the impact of law on mental health might include the impact of Medicaid reimbursement regulations on poverty and depression for single adult males and the impact of registration laws and treating juveniles as adults on the treatment of juvenile sex offenders. Examines how the law has shaped and continues to shape the delivery of behavioral health services to children and adults with mental illness and the impact of these laws on treatment, financing and governance of the public mental health systems.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define the structure of the legal system including the various pathways to making law
  2. Discuss the relevance to the public health system and the relationship between law and policy
  3. Analyze case law, particularly those cases related to public mental health issues, and apply these cases to actual current problems and issues
  4. Define current federal law with respect to each of the issues that are important in public mental health treatment and service delivery
  5. Discuss how these legal issues are developing in international legal systems and other countries
  6. Discuss advocacy and the legislative process
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 72% Quizzes
  • 25% Presentation(s)
  • 3% Participation

Instructor Consent:

No consent required