Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts
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About MHLAC Intake
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Intake Areas Covered

About MHLAC Intake

The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee provides comprehensive information and advice to individuals involved with the Massachusetts mental health system through the MHLAC Intake Line. To have a legal advocate contact you regarding an intake matter, you must call the MHLAC Intake Line and leave a voice mail message. We do not conduct intakes on a walk-in basis.
To request an MHLAC intake via email, click here.

Calling for Legal Help for You or Someone Else
You can leave a voicemail message 24 hours/7 days a week on the MHLAC Intake Line. Please note however that Intake Staff will return these calls during regular office hours, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
You can call the MHLAC Intake Line by dialing 617-338-2345, then press 4 or toll free 1-800-342-9092, then press 4. You will hear the following menu:

If you are a legislator or legislative staffer, courthouse employee, social or legal services provider, or consumer advocate, press 1.

If you are calling from a hospital emergency room or psychiatric unit, press 2.

If you are calling about a mental health related legal problem for yourself or someone else, press 3.

Be Prepared to Leave a Message:
When calling the Intake Line, you should be prepared to leave a message:

Give a brief description of the nature of the issue about which you are seeking information or advice.

Provide your name, address, telephone numbers, and, if you are contacting us about someone other than yourself, the name of that person and your relationship to him or her.

Due to high demand and limited resources, we can only respond to requests for help with certain legal matters. See below for our current case priorities. An Intake Advocate will contact callers on a first come first served basis. A phone interview will be conducted by an intake advocate at that time. Please note that we only provide assistance for problems or issues that pertain to Massachusetts. We cannot provide assistance to anonymous callers.

MHLAC provides information, pro se advice, materials and referrals. There are no income guidelines for advice only. Direct representation of persons with mental illness is offered on a limited basis. MHLAC provides representation for indigent clients only in civil matters only. Mental health of the client must be a primary factor in the current legal matter or relevant to the legal issue. Illness may be perceived and can be undiagnosed.

Intake Areas Covered

MHLAC may provide representation to people with, or perceived to have, a mental health condition who have legal concerns in the following areas:

Community Based Mental Health Services  

  • Denial or termination of DMH’s Community Based Flex Supports (CBFS) services.

  • Denial or termination of MassHealth’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) services.

Education

  • Denial of appropriate educational services to youth under 22 years old confined in a DYS or DMH run facility, county jail, or prison. 

  • Exclusion from school as a result of school disciplinary action.

  • Police arrest as a result of school disciplinary action.

  • Access to SPED services for ELL students.

  • Restraint and seclusion.

Family Law

  • Custody or visitation rights to their children for parents with mental illness.

  • Inappropriate intervention or refusal of services by DCF that could keep the family intact.

Insurance

  • Private Disability Insurance (income replacement) - Denial of or termination from short- or long-term disability insurance benefits, where the disability is based on a mental condition.

  • Health Insurance - Denial of coverage for mental health services or out-of-network providers.

Jail

  • Denial of mental health care.

  • Solitary confinement.

Medical Treatment Discrimination

  • Dismissal of physical health concerns by a health provider because of a person’s psychiatric history.  

  • Allegations of improper disclosure of confidential mental health treatment information.

Mental Health Facilities & Emergency Rooms

  • Held against one’s will in possible violation of rights prior to potential issuance of a petition for civil commitment.

  • Allegations of mistreatment and rights violations in a hospital emergency room or mental health facility.

  • Restraint and seclusion.

Residential

  • Eviction or threat of eviction from DMH group home (supported housing) settings.

  • Restraint and seclusion.

Pro Se and Informational pamphlets are available on this website by going to the Resources tab. There you can access the Library page or the Useful Links.

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