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

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drawing of profile of face made with short black lines getting denser near the face features with the title Race Racism and Mental Health on the left

Thank you to everyone who made this event such a success.

Materials and videos can be found here


Reasonable Accommodations Survey

Have you ever represented a client in court with a disability? Have you, or anyone you know, ever asked the court to provide a REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION?

PLEASE COMPLETE OUR QUICK SURVEY! Even if you haven’t tried to obtain a reasonable accommodation, please complete this survey to help us better understand your thoughts and experiences.


MHLAC is collecting information about accessing and implementing reasonable accommodations within the court system to further our mission of advancing the rights and opportunities for people with mental health conditions. While MHLAC’s focus during this effort is mental health, we want to ensure access for all and welcome experiences involving all disabilities. We intend to share examples gathered from this survey during our work with court personnel about the RA process. No identifying information will be provided. If you are someone who has been subjected to a commitment hearing in Massachusetts, to access a brief survey and share your thoughts.



Commitment Hearing Location Survey

Our colleagues at the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community are partnering with Massachusetts Attorney Susan Stefan and others to try and gather feedback directly from individuals who have been subjected to commitment hearings. One potential outcome - depending on feedback received - is to argue that courts should be the expected location for all commitment hearings unless the person hospitalized asks for an accommodation to hold the hearing in the hospital. Let's not allow hospitals to speak for us!

If you are someone who has been subjected to a commitment hearing in Massachusetts, please click here to access a brief survey and share your thoughts.



news and information

  • 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

  • See 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.

Short introduction of 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, protecting parents’ rights to fair treatment in custody and visitation actions (the Clubhouse Family Legal Support Project) and protecting the rights of workers experiencing discrimination in the workplace. This site is also intended to be a resource to advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and others interested in assisting individuals with mental disabilities assert their rights and advocate for themselves. MHLAC welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions about our website via email

Interested in learning more about MHLAC. Our online library lists publications and legal resources for many subject areas under headings according to each topic. To be added to the MHLAC mailing list or to schedule an outreach presentation at your event, please send your request to

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