Jails & Prisons Are Not Full of Mentally Ill People

We commonly hear that jails and prisons are loaded with mentally ill people. They aren’t. This illusion was created by flawed data and bad assessment, which actually harms the mentally ill who already struggle to find adequate treatment & escape stigma.

America Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Perhaps people have always been unreasonable. Even if we look back to the origins of humanity, maybe there has never been a reasonable time. Perhaps there has never been a time when people listened to each other, truly considered thoughts and ideas (even when they were opposed to their own) and offered measured or reasonableContinue reading “America Has Borderline Personality Disorder”

Are Personality Disorders Mental Illnesses? The Legal Implications.

The legal system often struggles to define and manage mental illnesses in criminal cases, but personality disorders make the issue of definition and culpability even more complex.

Mental Illness, Guns & Violence: What’s Really Going On?

Media and public figures often pair mass shootings and gun violence with mental illness. This is a reckless and ill-informed myth that harms the mentally ill and results in widespread misrepresentations of mental illness. It also fails to account for those who are truly guilty of these atrocities.

When Mental Illness & the Law Collide

Part 3: Criminal Responsibility (Insanity) The insanity defense has been plagued by myths and misunderstandings since its beginnings [2]. As introduced in Part 2, insanity is fundamentally different from competence in several ways. First, insanity claims are rare. The general public tends to believe the insanity defense is commonly used. This is due, in part,Continue reading “When Mental Illness & the Law Collide”

When Mental Illness & the Law Collide

Defendants may be suspected of having inadequate present knowledge of their legal cases. When this occurs, they require a formal evaluation that may render them incompetent or unfit to stand trial. This can be a complicated psycholegal issue that impacts more than just the defendant.

When Mental Illness & the Law Collide

The mentally ill are increasingly interacting with every level of the criminal justice system, even though this system was never designed to function in this role.

In this series, I cover several places and ways that the mentally ill encounter the legal system, starting with Part I: Law Enforcement & Incarceration

The Dangers of Misdiagnosing Mental Illness

Although diagnosing mental illness can be challenging, mental health clinicians too often make reckless misdiagnoses. The consequences of misdiagnosis are wide-ranging, all of which include poor outcomes for patients. Clinicians need to return to simple, ethical best practices to solve this prolific problem.

Mental Illness in the Legal System

Deinstitutionalization failed to deliver on promises to free the mentally ill from needless hospitalization. The lack of adequate planning, funding and availability of community resources led to many outgoing patients becoming homeless and/or incarcerated. Over time, the mentally ill have been interacting with the legal system at all levels at increasing rates. This has created strains on the legal system and poor outcomes for the mentally ill.