Advancing the rights and opportunities of persons with mental disabilities through quality legal advocacy and education in Massachusetts
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What We Do

The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee works to enhance and protect the rights of persons with mental health concerns in key areas most closely related to their ability to live full and independent lives free of discrimination. All callers who present with a legal issue related to mental health within broad priorities will receive basic advice and referral information (see About MHLAC Intake). MHLAC advocates provide informal advocacy or full legal representation to indigent adults and children who:

  • Are mistreated in, or face undue, psychiatric confinement or need help securing community-based mental health services;

  • Might otherwise be denied custody or visitation of a child (see About Clubhouse Project);

  • Are suspended or expelled from school or denied necessary language services;

  • Are locked up and denied an education;

  • Are denied rights by emergency room staff;

  • Are confined in a prison or jail and mistreated or denied mental health care;

  • Have been restrained with physical force or by mechanical means or confined in isolation from other persons in a school or state run facility;

  • Were denied short or long term disability;

In the pursuit of large-scale systemic reforms, MHLAC works cooperatively with other agencies and advocacy organizations on litigation or community based campaigns and in coalitions seeking legislative or regulatory changes. MHLAC also provides comprehensive, highly-regarded trainings for CPCS attorneys and others on cutting edge legal and medical topics related to mental illness (see About MHLAC Training).

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

We are looking for reports of people with lived experience being denied care for physical problems because of your mental health history!

Have you or someone you know ever experienced medical symptoms that were not taken seriously because the doctor knew about your psychiatric history? Were you denied care for a physical problem because staff told you “it was all in your head”? If so, please let MHLAC know so that we can learn more about the misuse of psychiatric records and advocate for consumer control of records.

Please email us at: ListenToMe@mhlac.org. Please give as full a description as possible of what happened. We keep identifying information confidential unless you specifically say that we may use it in our efforts. If you do not want MHLAC to know your name, you can mail your account to us at:

Miriam Ruttenberg
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee
24 School Street, Suite 804, Boston, MA 02108; or
fax from a public location to MHLAC at (617) 338-2347

MHLAC wants to know about you or your friend's access to fresh air while on an inpatient unit.

Call us at 617.338.2345, and press "4" to tell us about your experience. Organizations and groups are invited to print out the above flier to give out at meeting and events.

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