Vanderbilt Law Review


Tamsen D. Love

First Page



Today we think we know a lot more about mental health care than our country's founders did. Yet in many ways we are in no better position than our eighteenth-century predecessors. Certainly, the decisions we as a society face about mental illness are just as difficult. The vocabulary we employ is more complex--"behavioral health organization," "psychopharmacology," "cost containment"--but the issues are the same: Who should pay for mental health care? How much care is appropriate? And, more fundamentally, what exactly is mental health?

This year's Special Project addresses these issues. The Notes focus on particular legal issues in the mental health care field, but in doing so, they necessarily implicate the larger national debates about mental health care and health care in general. Policymakers are currently making crucial decisions in both areas. These Notes seek to inform those decisions.