The Center for Mental Health Law and Ethics is a non-profit, private corporation in the State of California and under the IRS Code, Rules and Regulations Section 501 (C)(3). The Center will be established in the winter of 1999 with all the rights, privileges and benefits of a non-profit, private entity.
The purpose of the Center for Mental Health Law and Ethics is to establish an international entity by which information pertaining to scientific, ethical, legal, moral, as well as research-based data can be provided to any person, group, or governmental entity who could use it in the furtherance of the best interests of consumers of mental health services and the interests of justice. The Center will be divided into different branches which will be responsible for providing a wide range of services, activities and information. Through its activities, the Center will promote justice as it pertains to a broad range of mental health issues. One of the methods of promoting justice will be to provide information, including the ethics codes, of numerous professional groups, including as follows:
- The American Psychological Association Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct (1992) (2002)
- The Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychology.
- The Ethics Code of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
- The Ethics Code of the National Association of Social Workers.
- The Ethics Code of the American Medical Association.
- The Ethics Code of the American Counseling Association.
- The Ethics Code of the American Medical Association with annotations pertaining to psychiatry.
- The Ethical Principles of Forensic Psychiatry.
- A Summary of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.
- The Forensic Mental Health Association of California.
In addition, information including articles and interpretive analyses of the application of these ethics codes will be provided in the form of documents, as well as Web-based information data. The Center will provide current information as noted above, as well as articles, papers, scientific analyses and philosophically-based articles designed to address the unique applications of ethical principles in actual practice. In addition, the Center will create and publish idealistic principles which exceed basic prohibitions of conduct with respect to ethical behavior. In addition, the Center will provide legal, psychological and forensic psychiatric resources in the form of consultants and, eventually, in the form of actual on-site assistance from the most highly qualified individuals in law, psychology and psychiatry pertaining to the interface of law, psychology/psychiatry/mental health practice and ethics.
Each branch of the Center will be called a division. The divisions are as follows:
- Forensic Psychology
- Sexual Abuse
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Managed Care
- Health Care Access
- Mental Health Ethics
- Briefs in Various Mental Health Areas
- Licensure Issues
- Rights of Mental Patients
- Capital Murder Cases
- Expert Testimony
- Domestic Violence
- Bi-Polar Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Judicial Ethics
- Juvenile Crime and Treatment
- Other Agencies/Organization Liaisons, including those with and links to Amnesty International, AMI, APA, NASW, AAMFT, ACA, ABA, AAPC, United Nations, World Court, ASPPB, and other divisions will be Computers, Diversity and Psychotropic Drugs.
The entity shall be organized as a non-profit, private corporation under the laws of the State of California, as well as under Internal Revenue Service regulations at 501 (c)(3). The Center will be a strictly non-profit, private corporation designed to use its financial and personal resources to promote the interests of justice world-wide in the area of mental health law and ethics. The Center will strictly adhere to all rules and regulations pertaining to non-profit entities.
Initially, the Center will be located at an office in Roseville, California. The address will be 300 Harding Blvd., Suite 118, Roseville, California 95678. It will be housed in the same office where the CEO and Vice President conduct private practice activities professionally. Ultimately, the Center should be housed in a separate facility which is leased to the Center and paid for with Center funds. Eventually, a retreat setting in the Sierra Nevada mountains will be established in order to conduct seminars, retreats, educational activities, promote scholarly writing and interchange and allow for the computer-based exchange of information.
Initially, the Center will be funded by the Chief Executive Officer. Additional funding, however, will be obtained through grants and foundation donations. Other funding will be solicited in the form of gifts, trusts or other methods of legally accepting donations. In addition, the Center will offer membership fees by allowing an individual to become a member of the Center. Membership will be reasonably inexpensive initially at a figure of $50.00 per year. This will entitle members access to consultants via telephone, a newsletter providing the latest updates on information relevant to mental health law and ethics around the world, and a membership certificate. Members will be screened such that(1) they must not have been subject to serious discipline by a licensing board in the profession, (2) must not have been the object of an adverse termination by an ethics committee, (3) must not have been found guilty of a felony unless said crime occurred in a country known for oppressive practices and the offense is non-violent in nature and related to opposing such practices. Funding will also be solicited from companies manufacturing psychotropic medication. One of the reasons for this is that the Center will be advocating for involvement of mental health practitioners in advising clients about the effects of psychotropic medications and working with primary care physicians to do so in the best interests of the patient. This practice will be done in accordance with the California Board of Psychology policy on medication drafted, written and put into practice in the State of California by the Center’s CEO.
Finally, any other method of obtaining donations will be considered, provided it is compatible with the Center’s promotion of the highest ethical and moral standards of conduct. The Center will apply for grants and other types of funding from governmental entities as well as from private foundations and other entities.
PAPERS AND EXPERTS TO BE DISPATCHED:
Immediately upon creation of the corporation, along with the Website, numerous professional papers, analyses, research findings, summaries of cases and professional commentary will be made available to anyone who contacts the Website and is able to download the material. Examples of the papers and information available include:
- Articles on dual role relationships and conflicts of interest for mental health professionals;
- Articles on methodology to be used in conducting an examination to determine competency to be executed;
- Articles relevant to evidentiary issues in child physical abuse and sexual abuse cases, including those dealing with child witnesses, suggestibility, coercive questioning, faulty mental health techniques, gross violations of ethical standards in mental health testimony, scientific techniques which can be employed in the case of evaluating child sexual abuse or child physical abuse victims;
- Articles dealing with experts who provide “consistent with” testimony;
- Articles dealing with experts who attempt to provide human lie detector testimony in civil, criminal and administrative matters;
- Articles pertaining to right to treatment issues, right to refuse certain kinds of treatment, advance directives, cross-examination tactics to keep mental health professionals honest, credible and scientific in the evidence they present;
- Articles regarding treatment issues and guidelines for dealing with mentally ill homeless individuals;
- Articles dealing with obtaining mental health benefits for the seriously mentally ill via such entities as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, state and local mental health organizations;
- Articles dealing with the use of graduate level training programs in mental health for the treatment of the seriously mentally ill;
- Articles dealing with issues pertaining to prescription of psychotropic medication, documented treatments of abuses of mental health systems and/or treatment of individuals and/or groups;
- Articles dealing with confidentiality;
- Articles dealing with issues pertaining to competent practice;
- Articles dealing with financial aspects of mental health;
- Articles dealing with services;
Once the Center is fully funded and operational, the Center will have a group of highly trained mental health experts who can be dispatched across the country and around he world to provide consultation and/or direct assistance in cases where mental health/psychological testimony/and all professionals testimony is a critical component of a case and where normal resources are unavailable to pursue the fair administration of justice. The entire Center will be apolitical to some degree and organized around generally accepted principles of ethics, justice and law. It will not be oriented or focused on taking a position on a particular topic to an extreme degree, such as in the areas of repressed memories or false allegations of child sexual abuse, The experts who will associate with the Center will consist of those who have made a commitment to the Center’s purpose and who have been carefully screened by Center staff relying on primary source data. The individuals will be psychiatrists, psychologists, attorneys, marriage, family and child counselors, social workers and counselors. The people who are dispatched to participate in forensic cases will be Board certified in both a clinical specialty and in forensics, if such certification is available. In addition, the experts will be senior level individuals with extensive professional and trial experience who are well aware of some of the ethical pitfalls facing mental health professionals in the justice system as it is currently.
RETREAT AND TRAINING FACILITY:
After several years of operation it will ultimately be planned for the Center to purchase a facility in the Sierra Nevada mountains that can be used for retreats as well as other educational activities. This will be a training facility that allows individuals to come and study, take course work which will satisfy the requirements of continuing education for various professions, and be able to perform both library and electronic research at the facility. The facility will be equipped with sufficient housing for up to 20 individuals and a sophisticated computer system with the latest in electronic resources and access to the Internet.
The Center will keep and track bizarre and unscientific, if not hoax, theories related to mental health issues. It will do so through a database and through the Website. The Center will make available articles and analyses on the current scientific status, or lack thereof, of a particular theory. Some current examples which will be placed in the database immediately are as follows:
- Alien abduction theory
- Past life regression theory
- Facilitated communication
- Remote viewing
- Psychic prediction
- Use of psychics in criminal cases
The specific problems with unusual and bizarre theories will be presented in a reasoned, rational manner devoid of hysteria.
COMPELLED PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS AND TREATMENT:
This division will focus on ethical, legal and social issues pertaining to compelled psychological evaluations, as well as compelled treatment. In particular, there will be a focus on constitutional ethical issues in dealing with individuals who may not fully have the capacity to consent and whose rights may be temporarily removed from them. Issues that can arise in this area include:
- Forced examination by psychiatrists and psychologists of issues relevant to the court, such as competency or insanity, sentencing, or involuntary withholding of ones liberty pursuant to a state or federal statute authorizing such.
- Forced treatment with psychotropic medication.
- Forced treatment with psychotropic medication and therapy in competency to be executed cases.
- Forced treatment with psychotropics and/or therapy in competency to stand trial cases.
- Forced treatment of the mentally ill homeless, including temporary restraints on their liberty.
Unlike the Civil Liberties Union, this division will not necessarily take a direct position unless it is clear in the law and ethical analysis that one is available. To the contrary, this division will provide strategic thinking in this arena with both pro and con arguments for compelled evaluations and treatment. In addition, compelled treatment policies from around the world will be analyzed by Center staff and those that are particularly good or particularly bad will be presented with an analysis regarding the problems in each.
ETHICAL TREATMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS:
This section will focus on general ethical principles that are relevant to a broad range of settings where people are receiving mental health services. These will include such settings as outpatient private practice, outpatient community mental health centers, inpatient private psychiatric hospitals and non-community funded hospitals, 23-hour bed programs, treatment in use detention facilities, treatment in prisons, use of new technologies and/or methods for the treatment of patients with mental disorders, delineations of various treatment methods and the ethical issues that arise in applying them to different groups with psychological/psychiatric problems. For example, there may be unique ethical issues in the treatment of a patient with schizophrenia that are not present in treating a relatively healthy individual with a marital problem on an outpatient basis. The purpose of this section of the Center will be to carefully analyzing these distinctions and the ethical principles associated with them. In addition, various treatment guidelines that are now in existence will be presented along with the ethical principles associated with these treatment guidelines. In the past five years there has been a dramatic increase in specific treatment guidelines delineated for various diagnostic categories in the DSM-IV. These treatment guidelines such as those published by the American Psychiatric Association for the treatment of bi-polar disorder will be incorporated into the relevant ethical analyses.
It may be that once the Center is fully operational, there may be a need to develop special projects under a special project coordinator. This may arise based upon a particular case or even a set of procedures or standards discovered in a country that have a significant effect on mental health law and ethical issues.
NOTES ON PARTICULARLY GOOD LAWS AND RULES:
The Center staff, through its researchers, professionals, contributors, volunteers, library and database, will develop a database of laws which seem particularly good in promoting ethical and legal treatment of mental health patients. The staff in this section will survey laws ranging from involuntary commitment to treatment of the homeless in the United States and around the world and document those programs and/or rules and/or statutes that have been successful in terms of treatment, ethical use of mental health methodologies and the ethical and legal issues as they pertain to human rights.
The section on oppression will specifically deal with use of techniques, policies, procedures, and methods by mental health practitioners that have an oppressive effect on patients and social groups, cultures and societies. In addition, those non-professionals who employ mental health treatment methodologies such as psychotropic medication and/or hypnosis, as well as a myriad of other techniques available in the armamentarium of mental health professionals for an oppressive purpose in support of a governmental policy or plan which has not true mental health purpose.
WORLD GOVERNMENT ISSUES:
This component of the Center will track and keep a database of ethical and legal issues associated with world governments. The laws of various countries as they pertain to mental health will be accumulated, tracked and placed in the database. In addition, these will be studied and analyzed, identifying particularly good, as well as particularly bad, statutes. In addition, other issues will be tracked associated with world government such as conduct by mental health professionals in a particular country that is unethical and reprehensible. One example of this is the president of Yugoslavia, Siobodin Milosovic who has been a leader of the Yugoslavian government and has authorized and promoted ethnic cleansing through genocide. Analyses of these individuals and/or groups of individuals, along with psychological profiles and critical writings, will be solicited from members and/or volunteers and developed as information and resources become available to do so.
This section of the Center will work with other sections, including the section on world government issues, oppression, and compelled psychological evaluations and treatments to identify ethical and legal mental health issues that promote human rights. In this regard, the Center expressly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations (attached). One of the goals of the Center is to continue the process of identification of fundamental human rights as noted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations and the International Declaration of Rights.
UNIQUE AND EFFECTIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING:
This component of the Center staff will be one of the later parts put into practice. The idea is that a task force of providers from across the country and around the world will be available to participate in special problem-solving projects that require a significant amount of time and energy on a mental health law issue which is time-sensitive. The task force will be organized by and under the direction of a director of the Center. Unique and special problem-solving activities may include such things as providing an amicus curiae brief to a court surrounding a particular mental health law issue relevant to the Center’s purpose and existence, assistance with legal issues associated with the mentally incompetent inmate who is facing execution, providing testimony before a legislature or a legislative committee on a mental health law issue, providing assistance to an individual who may be facing legal charges which violate basic and fundamental rights where mental health issues are also present.
The Center publications section will deal with a wide variety of manuscripts, documents, guidelines, research questions, the Center’s journal and any books or other relevant publications that the Center staff agrees to make available to the public. The initial primary publication will be a newsletter which will be sent out to all members on a monthly basis. The C 0 of the Center has extensive experience writing and working with newsletters for both small and large organizations. All publications will reflect the Center’s primary purpose of promoting mental health issues, concepts, behaviors, practices, etc. worldwide which have a scientific, professional and ethical foundation.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO OTHERS:
Once the Center is fiscally sound, a portion of monies in U1e budget will be set aside to provide direct financial assistance primarily to programs, organizations, entities and/or groups that conduct activities consistent with the purpose of the Center. In unique cases the Center may provide direct financial assistance to particular individuals who are in need of some specialized treatment or to a professional who is, in fact, providing a specialized type of care which holds great promise as a methodology which can be duplicated and subsequently become helpful to a large group of people. Finally, direct assistance may be available on an individualized basis, in particular in legal cases, either at the trial or appellate level where the issue presented in the court has significant implications consistent with the overall purpose of the Center. This funding could involve underwriting of attorney’s fees, appellate costs or specialized experts to assist plaintiffs, defendants, prosecutors or criminal defense counsel in their cases.
PSYCHOLOGY OF TERRORISM:
One major division of the Center will focus on psychological issues as they pertain to nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism. One of the reasons for this is that the threat of terrorism in 1999 and into the next millennium is greater than at any other time in the history of the world. In addition, the instruments of terrorism, including nuclear weapons, as well as chemical and biological substances, are now more deadly and available for indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations. The Center’s staff will study and research how the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism effects the overall mental health of populations, as well as individuals. In addition, it will study the psychological aspects of those who chose to engage in such extreme forms of conduct. In this regard, the Center will work with other well-known group and obtain information such as from the U.S. Department of State, Rand Corporation, Special Operations School at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and other places to develop analyses on psychological profiles of terrorists and of the background psychological effects of the threat of use of weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations.
After the Center is operational and within the first five years a twenty-four hour information center will be opened. The idea is to have continuous live tracking of issues relevant to the Center for Mental Health. This will be done by having an 800 toll-free number which is staffed twenty-four hours a day to receive and document calls on issues pertinent to the Center’s ultimate purpose. In addition, staff members, who most likely would be graduate students in universities and schools in the Sacramento area, will be used to conduct continuous Internet research documenting stories, issues, cases, circumstances, newly-created rules, statutes, and regulations which are relevant to mental health law and ethics. In addition, staff members associated with this part of the Center will be available to disseminate information instantly once it is accumulated and categorized. Hence, the information center could be used to provide real time updated information on psychological and mental health research, as well as on ethical thinking which may have an effect on ongoing trials, appellate cases, laws, regulations or various declarations of rights.
OTHER AREAS OF FOCUS FOR THE CENTER SCIENTISTS:
- Child Abuse Reporting Laws
- Tarasoff Laws
- Due Process
- Stories of ethical and unethical practice
- Licensing Actions
- News from Around the World
- Forensic Ethics Updates
- Competency to be Executed
- Research Topics Links/Summaries
- Unethical Testimony in the Courts
- Update on Key Cases Pertaining to Mental Health
- Involuntary Commitment
- Right to Treatment
- Right to Refuse Treatment
- Fraud and Abuse Issues
- Update on Neuroscience
UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
English F:..DF version. Source~ Source: United Nations Department of Public Information
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
The General Assembly,
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every Individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, s all strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property. birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-se f-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law, All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination,
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
- Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
- No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
- Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
- This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations
- Everyone has the right to a nationality.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
- Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
- Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
- The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
- Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
- No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
- No one may be compelled to belong to an association
- Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
- Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country.
- The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
- Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
- Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
- Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
- Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
- Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
- Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
- Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
- Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
- Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
- Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
- Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
- 2 In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
- These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.