Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Founded in 1972 by a group of lawyers and mental health professionals, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a nonprofit organization devoted to improving the lives of people with mental illnesses through changes in policy and law. Focusing on policy advocacy, litigation and public education, the Bazelon Center fights for the rights of people living with mental disorders specifically addressing community integration, self determination, success for all children, access to services and access to courts. Their programs and litigation zero in on housing, employment, education, public systems, health care, the judiciary and more.

Their website also provides useful information on legislation currently being considered in the 112th Congress. The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization of 2011 would renew and expand existing provisions with the "goal of increasing suicide prevention programs in communities and college campuses across the country. The bill also promotes the development of effective strategies and best practices related to youth suicide prevention."

The Mental Health on Campus Improvement Act is also under consideration. The bill would "assist colleges and universities in successfully attending to the gro mental health needs in colleges and universities by improving access to mental and behavioral health services on college campuses."

It is important to exercise our power as citizen advocates by calling and writing our Congressional Representatives and Senators and urging them to support legislation that will improve mental health programs and policies in the U.S. The Bazelon Center's website offers a wealth of information to help us do just that. Visit for more information.

To find contact information for your Senator of Representative visit

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