Symposium Provides Insight into Intersection Between Mental Health and the Law

The junction between mental health and the law will be the focus of the 16h annual Forensic Science and Law Symposium at Duquesne.

From Out of the Shadows: Illuminating the Intersection of Mental Health and the Law-scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 20, and Friday, Oct. 21-is presented by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

"From the investigation and prevention of homicides and suicides among the mentally ill to litigation strategies based on mental health disorders to the incarceration of individuals with mental illnesses, the intersection of mental health and the law is a busy and complicated space," said Ben Wecht, program coordinator for the institute. "In an effort to shed greater light upon that intersection, the Wecht Institute is convening several leading mental health, legal and public policy experts for this symposium."

A sampling of the event's scheduled speakers includes:

  • William F. Caye II, founder and president of a statewide criminal and juvenile trial defense litigation firm
  • Edward P. Mulvey, director of the law and psychiatry program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
  • Congressman Tim Murphy, a psychologist who is known for advocating for reforms in the U.S. health care system.
  • Dr. Paul Nussbaum, neuropsychologist and founder/president of the Brain Health Center, Inc.
  • Katherine Ramsland, director of the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at DeSales University
  • Dr. Michael Welner, forensic psychiatrist and chairman of The Forensic Panel
  • The Hon. John A. Zottola, judge for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and principal designer of the Allegheny County Veterans Court, which he oversees.

"While mental health and the law have become more closely intertwined over the last few years, there remains a notable disconnect between government policy and our scientific understanding of the brain," said Murphy, who will present The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act during the symposium. "Comprehensive mental health reform legislation, specifically, the Helping

Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, will help to bridge that gap and change the way our country addresses serious mental illness and those in mental health crisis."

For more information on this year's Wecht Symposium, including cost details, the event schedule and registration, visit, email or call 412.396.1330.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.