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
Intake
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Resources
About Us
Contact Us

Welcome to the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC)

For over 40 years, children and adults with mental disabilities have looked to MHLAC for vindication of their rights against discrimination and to appropriate services. An independent state agency of the Supreme Judicial Court, MHLAC provides advice and direct legal representation on a wide range of legal issues. These include: access to services, treatment rights, equitable treatment in custody and visitation matters, guardianship abuse, insurance discrimination, educational rights, housing bias, and mistreatment in institutional and community settings. In addition to providing direct legal representation and advice, MHLAC lawyers also train judges, attorneys, and advocates; interpret and analyze legislation; and produce brochures and longer publications on pertinent legal matters.

This website is intended to inform individuals and families about the work of MHLAC, including special projects devoted to children confined in DYS facilities and to protecting parents’ rights to fair treatment in custody and visitation actions (the Clubhouse Family Legal Support Project). This site is also intended to be a resource to advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and others interested in assisting individuals with mental disabilities to assert their rights and advocate for themselves. MHLAC welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions about our website via email mhlac@mhlac.org.

Interested in learning more about MHLAC. Our online library lists publications and legal resources for many subject areas under headings according to each topic. Read the latest edition of MHLAC eNews or view our MHLAC Outreach Packet for information we have distributed during presentations with advocates throughout the state of Massachusetts. To be added to the MHLAC mailing list or to schedule an outreach presentation at your event, please send your request to mhlac@mhlac.org.

 

Announcements & Events

SAVE THE DATE

February 27, 2015, MHLAC presents NAVIGATING THE CLINICAL AND LEGAL CHOICES OF ELDERS WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. for those interested in advocating for or learning more about the concerns of elders with mental health issues; including social workers, attorneys, professionals of all levels of experience, and the general public. Expert clinicians and attorneys will address the intersection of mental health and legal rights in health care planning, nursing home placements, as well as issues around recovery and empowerment. Participants will learn important practical information, including resources and strategies that can benefit elder clients. Go to our Upcoming Training for full details. We look forward to seeing you all there!

PARTICIPATE IN OUR TRAINING SURVEY

We're asking for 5 mins of your time to complete MHLAC's TRAINING PROGRAM SURVEY. Have you attended one of our training events in the past? Are you interested in attending one of our future events? We're looking for feedback from you. What topics would you like to learn about? We will use the information gathered to plan for future training events. Thanks to all of you who have participated already.

URGENT ACTION

News and Information

  • NEW! Read the lastest edition of MHLAC eNews.

  • See "The Unintended Results of Payment Reform and Electronic Medical Records" article written by Susan Fendell and "Choice and Continuity of Care as Significant Issues for Equality in Mental Health Care" article written by Miriam Ruttenberg. Both both appear in Suffolk University Law School's Journal of Health and Biomedical Law, Vl. X 2014, No. 2.

  • See Katherine Nemens quoted in "Predictive Neglect: Programs May Modify Outcomes Records," a recent online article in New England Psychologist.

  • Check out our very own, Susan Fendell, appearing on a recent episode of the Disability Law Center's Disability Connection.

  • Testimony on H.836 submitted to the Joint Committee on Financial Services on March 5th.

  • Testimony submitted to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding proposed regulations implementing C. 222. MHLAC also participated in the drafting and submission of public comments as part of the Education Law Task Force.

  • We want to hear from you!

    People with a Mental Health Diagnosis or Lived-experience We are looking for reports of you being denied care for physical problems because of your mental health history! We also want to know about Access to Fresh Air Have you, a friend or a loved one been on a psychiatric unit and have you been allowed access to fresh air? See more

  • MHLAC's White Paper on Electronic Health Records. Integration of behavioral and physical health care is popular and so is the integration of electronic health records. But research shows that physicians recommend different treatment and are more likely to misdiagnose patients for whom they have access to records revealing a psychiatric history. This white paper supports the need for persons with psychiatric histories to control who can have access to their mental health information.

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