Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Mental Health

Residents of private mental health facilities may be entitled to same rights as residents in state-operated mental health facilities. PA 097-1007 January 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code is amended by providing rights to residents in private mental health facilities if said resident would otherwise be served by a state-operated facility. 405 ILCS 5/2-103.
New guidelines for disclosing mental health records. PA 097-0515 July 2012 Illinois Law Update, Page 352 The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act has been amended to provide guidelines for the disclosure of treatment and coordination of care (740 ILCS 110/9.4 new).
Court-ordered mental health reports not confidential under IMDMA By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2011 Lawpulse, Page 174 Unlike those issued by treating caregivers, mental-health reports ordered by the court under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act are not confidential, the supreme court rules.
“I’m worried my child might hurt someone” By Helen W. Gunnarsson March 2011 Lawpulse, Page 118 What do you tell clients who fear that someone they know and love might pose a threat to himself or others? The news of the shooting of an Arizona congresswoman and 18 others, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, who died, and the arrest of an apparently mentally disturbed unemployed 22-year-old for the acts, horrified all who heard it.
Payments ensured for mental health, alcoholism and substance abuse treatment. PA 096-1472 March 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 124 State lawmakers amended the Department of Human Services Act to ensure payments are received for services treating alcoholism, mental health, and substance abuse.
Video conferencing now permitted in some hearings. PA 096-1321 January 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Mental Health and Developmental Disability Code to allow for video conferencing during hearings held pursuant to the act. 405 ILCS 5/3-806.1.
Raising the bar for involuntary commitment in Illinois By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2010 Lawpulse, Page 502 A new statute responds to a supreme court ruling that found Illinois' low standard for involuntary commitment under Illinois's Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code constitutionally infirm.
Committee charged with helping improve Illinois’ mental health courts By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2010 Lawpulse, Page 342 The supreme court has asked the committee to make recommendations for better information sharing, training for judges, and other improvements.
Taking the Cake By Karen Erger June 2010 Column, Page 322 How to put your temptation-resisting rational brain in charge.
Three-year pilot program focuses on the societal reintegration of persons with physical disabilities or mental illness. PA 096-0810 April 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 Amendments to the Disabilities Services Act have charged the Department of Human Services with creating a new pilot program designed to show the reintegration possibilities of persons with disabilities who need short-term placement in nursing facilities.
Collateral estoppel does not apply to release of mental health records if prior action related to relevance of records, but not possible violations stemming from release of those records. January 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 On October 23, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Circuit Court of St. Clair County to grant defendant's motion to dismiss a complaint relating to the release of mental health records in a divorce proceeding. 
Involuntary commitment provision of Mental Health Code overturned By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2010 Lawpulse, Page 10 The Illinois Appellate Court rules that a code provision allowing involuntary commitment for "dangerous conduct" is unconstitutionally vague.
New rules set standards for dementia care units November 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 552 The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (the department) recently adopted new rules creating a pilot program for Dementia Care Units in Supportive Living Facilities (SLF) across the state. 
Crime victims may present victim impact statements in mental health commitment hearings. PA 096-0117 October 2009 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses Act to allow for victims of a violent crime to submit impact statements in cases where the defendant has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
A Guide to Involuntary Commitment in Illinois By Rob Shumaker November 2008 Article, Page 568 Too many involuntary commitments are overturned because the lawyers and judges fail to follow the law. Here's a how-to guide.
Correspondence from Our Readers June 2008 Column, Page 274  Sharia law; Rukavina and law-related services.
The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Administrative Act is amended. PA 095-0427 June 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 284 Sections 4.3 and 70 of the Mental Heath and Developmental Disabilities Administrative Act have been amended by the General Assembly. 20 ILCS 1705/4.3 and 70. Subsection (b) of Section 4.3, concerning "Site visits and inspections," has been changed by adding language providing that the Department of Human Services will establish a system of "regular and ongoing" on-site inspections "that shall occur at least annually." 
Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code amended. 095-0602 April 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq, has been amended to add a new section defining "Dangerous conduct," and by changing other existing definitions concerning a person's awareness of the need for treatment.
Problem-Solving Courts By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2008 Article, Page 184 Supporters of drug, mental-health, and other specialty courts say they reduce recidivism and help offenders get control of their lives.
2007 Spring Session Roundup By Jim Covington August 2007 Column, Page 408 Highlights of this year's legislative session.
Bill would make involuntary commitment easier By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2007 Lawpulse, Page 398 But critics of the legislation say lack of resources, not a too-high commitment standard, is the problem with Illinois' mental health system.
Involuntary treatment authorization and patient refusal right laws amended - PA 094-1066 July 2007 Illinois Law Update, Page 348 The Illinois General Assembly has changed the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 ILCS 5/2-107 et seq.
Tax nonpayment sales and the mentally ill - does the system work? By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2007 Lawpulse, Page 286 Do recent cases indicate that Illinois should change its laws to further protect mentally ill property owners?
Limitations placed on property patients in mental health facilities may possess March 2007 Illinois Law Update, Page 124 Effective December 27, 2006, the Department of Human Services has implemented new rules in 59 Ill Adm Code 110.30 that allow the staff at mental health facilities to keep contraband, dangerous, and restricted items away from patients in order to protect the safety of both staff and patients. 59 Ill Adm Code 110.30. 
Mental disorder defined regarding acts of sexual violence PA 094-705 March 2006 Illinois Law Update, Page 118 Effective June 1, 2006, the Illinois General Assembly has added section 4.03 to the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act, 750 ILCS 205/4.03, in order to recognize those with mental disorders.
Department of Human Services to Implement Model Protocol for State-Operated Facilities; P.A. 93-0636 March 2004 Illinois Law Update, Page 124 The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Act has been amended to require that, no later than January 1, 2005, the Department of Human Services must adopt a model protocol and forms for recording all patient diagnosis, care and treatment at each state-operated facility for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled under the jurisdiction of the department. 
Involuntary Administration of Psychotropic Drugs: Balancing Safety and Civil Liberties By Anthony E. Rothert October 2003 Article, Page 496 A look at recent cases and trends in this dynamic area of law.
Trial court erred in granting state guardian authority to place disabled adult in skilled-care nursing home prior to holding involuntary commitment hearing March 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 116 On December 10, 2002, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the order of the Circuit Court of Adams County appointing the state guardian as limited guardian of Muellner.
Defendant’s mental retardation a relevant factor in determining whether statements made prior to custody and absent police misconduct voluntarily made February 2003 Illinois Law Update, Page 62 On November 8, 2002, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, reversed and remanded the order of the circuit court of Cook County denying the defendant's motion to suppress statements made before the defendant was in custody and absent police misconduct.
Involuntary administration of psychotropic drugs: Does Illinois need new standards? By Helen W. Gunnarsson January 2003 Lawpulse, Page 8 Some experts think Illinois law should be changed to make it easier to involuntarily admit mental patients and force them to take psychotropic drugs if they're unwilling. Others fear the changes would crowd mental-health facilities beyond capacity.