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

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Welcome to the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC)

Announcements & Events


Coming soon: Agenda and registration form. Click here.




See February 5, 2015 Fresh Air Press Release




News and Information

  • MHLAC currently has 2 openings. Click on Advocate and/or Intake Assistant for details on how to apply.

  • Check out MHLAC's Legislative Advocacy page.

  • MHLAC and numerous other organizations and legislators are supporting a bill to ban discrimination by disability (wage replacement) insurers against people with psychiatric disabilities. For more information, Click here for Fact Sheet. For testimony on the identical bill that was previously filed, click here .

  • NEW! See Jennifer Honig's article appearing in Boston Bar Journal's Winter edition.

  • Read the lastest edition of MHLAC eNews. We also now have a page where you can read our old eNews editions.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.


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 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

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

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