Mental Health and Society 4: Mental Illness and the Law


How does the law recognize mental illness? What rights does a person with a mental illness have? What is the relationship between mental illness and criminal intent? As minors (people under the age of 18), youth are in a unique position when they enter the healthcare system. This assignment will look at how the law and mental illness interact, so that youth may make informed choices when seeking help. You will be asked to perform research on people's rights in relation to mental health in your country, and to reflect on these rights in an online class discussion.


1. Look up information about your rights around mental health care and treatment in your jurisdiction or country. Or, if there is a particular country or region you’re interested in, you can research the law/policies that apply there instead. What would you want to know if you were thinking about seeking treatment for mental illness?

2. Post your findings in the Student Writing section of the classroom. Choose to either post your most interesting finding in the class discussion section, or respond to at least one of your classmates postings. Be sure to select the appropriate assignment from the pulldown menu at the bottom of your submission.

For some interesting examples of ideas and platforms around mental health and the law/human rights, check out these resources from around the world.

Check out pages 19-21 of Mental Health: A Guide to Action for ideas about how you can apply what you've learned to take action in your school, community, and politically.

Learning Objectives