NEWS | April 21, 2015

Conference slated to address managing the threat of violence from the mentally ill in school and the workplace

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Some of the nation’s leading experts in addressing one of the most troubling issues of our time — the increased incidence of violence at work, school and on campus — will hold a one-day conference on confronting employee and student mental-health issues from both the psychiatric and the legal perspectives.

Charles Scott Charles Scott

The conference, “Mental-Health and Violence: Addressing Concerns at Work and School,” will be offered on Friday, April 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hilton Sacramento Arden West, 2200 Harvard St., Sacramento.

The conference is exceptionally timely. According to a 2012 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately one million workers are assaulted and more than 1,000 are murdered each year — an average of some 20 homicides every week —  in acts of workplace violence. Homicide has surpassed machine-related injuries as the second most prevalent cause of death on the job, after motor vehicle accidents.

The discussions will be led by two of the nation’s leading experts in forensic psychiatry, the field that resides at the intersection of mental health and the law: Charles Scott, past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and chief of the Division of Psychiatry and the Law in the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Jessica Ferranti, director of UC Davis’ Workplace Safety and Psychiatric Assessment Clinic.

“Although the vast majority of individuals with mental illness are not violent, some mental-health problems can increase the risk of violence substantially. Violence in the workplace has received growing attention, in part due to the increase in litigation following incidents in the workplace,” Ferranti said. “This conference will discuss how to intervene appropriately under the law in cases of employees who may have mental health and/or behavioral problems in the workplace.”

The conference will help employers, physicians, specialty physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, attorneys and human-resource professionals, among others, with understanding the medical and legal principles that govern issues related to employees with mental illness.

It will include information on how to identify appropriate standards for evaluation of workplace readiness, evaluate the reasonableness of accommodation requests, and explain confidentiality concerns that must be considered by employers, treating clinicians and evaluators.

Among its highlights, the conference’s presenters will examine the maze of state and federal laws involved when dealing with a mentally ill employee, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and laws addressing workplace privacy and safety. Presenters also will address specific risk factors associated with juvenile’s risk of violence in the school setting, common youth risk-assessment instruments, and violence risk factors on college campuses.

“Businesses often can make accommodations in the workplace that are reasonable and improve the occupational environment for everyone, but sometimes there is a risk of danger to others that makes it unsafe for an individual to continue their employment. We will talk about how to make these determinations from both a medical and legal perspective,” Ferranti said.

In addition to Scott and Ferranti, other presenters will include Casandra M. Ferrannini and Elizabeth B. Stallard, partners in the Labor and Employment division of Downey Brand, LLP, and Barbara McDermott and Jason Roof of the UC Davis Division of Psychiatry and the Law.

The cost of participation is $250 for physicians and $200 for all others. Continuing education credits are available for physicians, marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, psychologists and physicians assistants.

For registration and other information, please contact the UC Davis Health System Office of Continuing Medical Education, 866-263-4338 or 916-734-5390; http://cme.ucdavis.edu/conferences

For more information, please visit medicalcenter.ucdavis.edu.