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Areas of Focus
Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics

The Areas of Focus and Particulars of Action describe how we specifically actualize our principles and live our mission:

Elyn Saks has assembled both a stellar external and internal Board of Directors to support her mission.

The Saks Institute selects an Issue for Investigation each year. The current topic is Mechanical Restraints in Psychiatric Hospitals with discussions around liberty vs. safety, as well as recent moves to reduce the use of restraints and how best to go about doing that. A Distinguished Lecture Event and a Spring Symposium highlight the annual theme and bring together in dialogue constituents with multiple perspectives of the issue.

A future topic to be addressed is Psychotropic Medication and the Law, which has multiple and rich dimensions for study and collaboration, including right to treatment with psychotropic medications, right to refuse medication, ethical dimensions involved in participating in research on medication, and ways to encourage patients to want medication without force.

We expect all of our topics to involve collaboration not only with experts in law and mental health, but also with consumers who have lived with the issues. We believe that consumers are a source of enormous wisdom that the research community ought better to tap into. We will have consumers speaking and writing at all of our events.

Over the years, our Institute will look at many other issues, e.g. the criminalization of mental illness, ethical dimensions of psychiatric research, geriatric patients and the law, and veterans and mental health.

Recent News

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USC Gould Graduates Celebrate Passing the Bar
December 8, 2017

New lawyers take their oath after passing the nation’s most difficult bar exam


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Start with “Yes”
November 27, 2017

During “Conversation with the Dean,” alumnus Paul Richardson (JD1990) shares career insights


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Saks Institute Holds Discussion on Involuntary Commitment
November 20, 2017

Judge Jim Bianco ’87 discusses mental health court