Lawsuits-- Human Rights for the mentally ill

I doubt that there are any attorneys in this forum with the insight, ideas etc… to see how a massive nationwide lawsuit initiate could be taken on. There is no parity. I was a Director of Special Ed back when Fed Law 94-142 – was enacted… the first one for our area — 1974. We had more services then… We still had the state hospitals which helped more people then they hurt. I live in western MA. These hospitals with campuses of 100+ acres typically needed to be re-invented… not closed. They needed to offer extreme settings for those who are so ill, think Vets, to Main St treatment with outpatient programs, living situations etc…
In our state the closed state hospitals have been selling land to developers for million dollar homes… The money received does not go into mental health and indeed I cannot get any state legislator to even talk about it… and oh yes, MA is considered one of the best states in the country for MI.
I worked for the Bureau of Institutional schools also in the 70s. I’ve been the the MA NAMI bd and have been a strong advocate for mental health for years only to watch MA violate it’s own decrees…
Brewster vs Dukakis a 13 yr lawsuit that helped bring about the closing of the institutions. It clearly states in there the importance of community based mental health programs for the hospitals to be closed.
That is not happening. As hospitals across the country are closing their doors to become Urgent Care centers… new regional state hospitals are being built in some areas.

People are discharged to the street… homeless or to a shelter… Would you just let someone out the door dragging themselves if they were not totally healed from physical surgery…
Let’s face it – It saves money. Many of the public hospitals are now owned by private corporations… many state programs are now run by private companies… Facism ?? Does meet the definition… all about $$$$$

To keep fighting for help as many of us caregivers, family/friends, do is not enough. Seriously there has to be much, much more. I truly believe laws are being broken such as in Brewster vs Dukakis…

IF a decree is made that would effect public hospitals, programs does it still hold weight it that progarm/hospital is then private? I also do not believe in the “Non-Profit” status which really has no place anymore. … another conversation.

Much as with cigarettes… is it crazy to t hink that if enough people got together in the country or maybe at least in their state… they could initiate a lawsuit against that state for not providing the services necessary for mental health…

Would t his involve insurance companies?? I don’t know. This is why I wish that a top attorney or similar would become a champion for this… Seriously… human rights violations ??? WE’ve got plenty of them…
Hey, it’s all about Capitalism in it’s ugliest form sadly.

Angry… not bitter.

Sue Louisignau
Greenfield, MA


I agree with all your observations. I am an attorney but not with the speciality for this. The Reagan administration came up with the plan to cut all the social services for mi. I think we need to think about how best to raise this issue in a way that supports our loved ones us and society.

This has been done through NAMI, DBSA etc…
Too late… the USA only does something if they HAVE to… what you’ve suggested has been done… no one listens… our governor in MA speaks to all we’re doing for MI
We aren’t… mind you the parents of adults with autism are fighting a similar battle.
Homelessness and shelters are a treatment model for mental health…
Seriously… if we don’t bring out the big guns now when will we. Had more services in the 70s then now.
But we need champions… who have the connections etc… similar to the tobacco fight.
Or maybe we just continue ue to ignore it
Thanks for responding

This organization exists exactly for that purpose:

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I am in complete agreement with suing states for not providing secure housing for the chronically mentally ill. My brother, an attorney, said I could lobby the effort til I die without getting anything done or be smart and get a national organization like NAMI to champion the suit. It’s time NAMI do something nationally that results in secure supportive housing instead of just giving lipservice on their website.

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My understanding of NAMI is its roots in support and education, which eventually led to more advocacy efforts. In the state where I live, the NAMI state organization’s executive director was on the commission with numerous other mental health advocacy groups which worked tirelessly to recently pass sweeping bi-partisan legislation to help persons living with mental illnesses and their families. NAMI is largely comprised of volunteers. It needs more people like you and me willing to be trained to help others for support and education, as well as to become advocates at the local level to raise awareness and to make our voices heard with legislators and others at state and federal levels, too. We can sit and complain, or we can get involved and help to make a difference. This might help: Advocacy | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness