Mental Health Law - California Western
Mental Health Law

Library Research Guide
Series #2
Compiled by
Bobbi A. Weaver
Reference Librarian
California Western School of Law
Rev. Oct. 2006

SCOPE: This research guide is not all-inclusive. It does, however, present resources available at the CWSL library and online regarding the relationship between law and psychology.

It is designed to provide the researcher with guidance as to the location of materials dealing with this subject. Access to Lexis, Westlaw, and the Internet is limited to students and faculty at CWSL.

We welcome suggestions for improvements to this and other research guides. Please consult the Reference Librarian with suggestions and further research questions. This research guide was originally compiled December 1997.

Table of Contents

Getting Started

In order to find resources concerning mental health law, you may want to search a variety of resources, including the KIM library catalog and one or more of the periodical indexes listed below. Some of the subject or search terms you might want to try are:

Legal periodical indexes are useful for finding law review and journal articles about particular legal subjects. Most of California Western’s law journals are arranged in alphabetical order by title in the PERIODICALS section on the third floor of the library.

A. Online Periodical Indexes

Current Index to Legal Periodicals (CILP)
Weekly index to over 500 major U.S. legal periodicals with links to the full text through Westlaw and Lexis (Westlaw and Lexis passwords required).

HeinOnline Periodicals
Image-based collection of law journals, many from date of inception to present. Also, pre-1981 Federal Register, treaties from 1776 and U.S. Supreme Court from 1754. Author, title and full text of articles are searchable.

Index to Legal Periodical & Books
Searchable database and indexing service of the abstracts of law-related articles. Link to a list of databases where the full text of each article is available. Updated daily. Check "Legal Periodicals and Books" to search 1982-present, and "Legal Periodicals Retro" to search 1918-1981.

LegalTrac Periodical Index
Searchable database and index of abstracts of U.S. legal periodical and newspaper articles from 1980 to present. Full text of some articles is available.

Includes a searchable database of hundreds of U.S. and Canadian law reviews and journals, from 1982 to the present. Full text of all articles available. Note: Lexis password required.

Includes a searchable database of selected documents from hundreds of U.S. law reviews, journals, CLE publications and bar journals. Full coverage for the entire run of some journals, and coverage starting in 1994 for others. Full text of all articles included in the database available. Note: Westlaw password required.

B. Indexes In Print

Name Coverage Location
Current Law Index 1980+ Reference
Index to Legal Periodicals and Books 1700's+ Reference
Index to Periodical Articles Related to Law 1958+ Reference
Law Books in Review 1974+ Reference
Index to California Legal Periodicals and Documents 1964-79 Third Floor; KFC 1 .C12
All CAL Index to Law Reviews and Legal Periodicals 1963-78 Third Floor; KF 8 .G66

Texts and Looseleafs


Internet Resources

NOTE: Internet site addresses change frequently. Accordingly, some of these sites may no longer exist under the addresses provided. To locate changed addresses, search for the page title using an Internet search engine such as Google (


Legal Associations

Mental Health Professional Associations

Advocacy Groups

Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw

These resources are available to CWSL students and faculty. Both services are quite extensive, but a few databases and files are especially relevant to mental health and the law, and have been noted below.

Please consult the print or online directories for these services (print directories are available at the Reference Desk) for more complete information regarding coverage. If you have questions about accessing these services, please see a Reference Librarian

A. Lexis:

Materials relevant to mental health law can be found in the files “Reference -- Medical,” “Secondary Legal – Law Reviews and Journals” and “Area of Law by Topic – Medical.”

Relevant databases (some found in more than one of these files) include—

  1. EMBASE references

  2. MEDLINE references

  3. New England Journal of Medicine

  4. American Journal of Psychiatry

  5. American Journal of Psychology

  6. Law and Psychology Review

  7. Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law

  8. Psychology Today

B. Westlaw:

Books, periodicals and other publication databases containing information about mental health law issues are scattered throughout Westlaw, but are most likely to be found in the files “Treatises, CLEs, Practice Guides” and “Legal Periodicals and Current Awareness,” located in the Westlaw Directory.

You can then search either of these files for useful publications using one of the search terms suggested above, such as “Mental Health” or “Forensic Psychology.” This should produce a selection of periodicals and treatises which may contain information about that topic. You can search up to ten databases at one time.

Relevant databases you might use include—

  1. EMBASE databases

  2. MEDLINE databases

  3. New England Journal of Medicine

  4. American Journal of Psychology

  5. Behavioral Health Management

  6. Behavioral Health Treatment

  7. Mental Health Abstracts

  8. Mental and Physical Disability Reporter

  9. Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law

  10. Psychology Today