Mental Health Law Manual
A manual on laws governing treatment of patients with mental health disorders

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Providing care to patients with mental health issues is complicated. It isn’t always easy to know what is “right” and what is “legal.”

The Mental Health Law Manual was written to help hospitals understand the laws governing mental health treatment as well as the rights of the patients they serve. The manual also details special protections for individuals who may be unable to make rational decisions regarding their care, specific requirements regarding the use and disclosure of health information and unique reporting requirements.

Written in a user-friendly manner, the manual has been updated to reflect all changes in state and federal laws governing mental health treatment and privacy through January 2019.

(13th edition, 2019)


The Mental Health Law Manual contains over 300 pages, 9 chapters, forms and appendices, an index of key terms, and several forms, many available in English and Spanish.

  • Overview of Mental Health Laws
  • Principles of Consent for Mental Health Patients
  • Voluntary Admission and Involuntary Detainment for Mental Health Treatment
  • Rights of Mental Health Patients
  • Restraints and Seclusion
  • Health Information Privacy Basics 
  • Reporting Assaults, Potentially Dangerous Patients and Firearms Prohibitions
  • Adverse Events and Incident Reports
  • Payment for Medi-Cal Emergency and Post-Stabilization Mental Health Services
  • Sample Forms, Posters and Notices
  • Index


“The Mental Health Law manual is a critical resource. It’s comprehensive, well organized, and the information on what details have to be reported to which agencies is great.”
— Elizabeth Brown RN MSN MHA, Nursing Manager, Emergency Dept., Orchard Hospital

“The Mental Health Law manual gives us fast answers to questions dealing with involuntary admissions, restraints and seclusion, privacy and other issues that arise in ED and Acute Care settings. It’s great to have the references right there.”
— Regina Vukson, RN, BSBA, CPHQ, CPHRM, Senior Risk Management Consultant, Optima Healthcare Insurance Services

Forms Policy

CHA includes hard copies of forms and appendices in its manuals for all purchasers. Electronic versions of forms, appendices, and the model compliance plan are available to CHA members for download at

E-Edition Details

The Mental Health Law Manual E-edition provides access to the Mental Health Law Manual from your smart phone or tablet through the free CHA Manuals App and includes a downloadable, individually-licensed PDF for desktop/laptop environments (see terms and conditions).

The CHA Manuals App is optimized for mobile access. The Mental Health Law Manual is presented in the App in a reflowable HTML format and features robust search functionality. The E-edition includes more than 1,000 links to take you to desired content in the manual or external websites. 

All forms and appendices from the Mental Health Law Manual are accessible from the app and may be printed if you can connect to an air printer.

Special Intranet Option

CHA also makes available a PDF of the Mental Health Law Manual licensed for posting to an Intranet. If you are interested in purchasing a PDF version of the Mental Health Law Manual for posting to an Intranet, please contact Bob Mion at or 916-552-7508.