Treatment Advocacy Center
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The Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) is a national U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to researching issues around lack of access to mental healthcare . They research issues around barriers to treatment and propose solutions to improve access to care for those severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Towards this end, the organization publicizes research as well as proposing laws, policies and practices for implementing treatment. The organizations provides education around personal barriers to treatment such as anosognosia-the neurological deficit leading to lack of awareness that one has a mental illness and needs treatment. They also publish reports comparing states and ranking access, adequacy and other issues around quality mental healthcare. They focus on as assisted outpatient treatment laws (AOT), the criminalization of those with mental illness and the negative impacts of deinstitutionalization of those with mental illness without increasing community based services.
E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. founded the Treatment Advocacy Center in 1998 as a function of the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI). For nearly 10 years in the decade after the widespread elimination of psychiatric hospital beds in the U.S., Torrey had been a psychiatrist at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the treatment of serious and persistent mental illness in Washington, D.C. Torrey also believed that the migration of individuals who would have been hospitalized prior to the closing of state psychiatric hospitals (a trend known as "deinstitutionalization") into jails and prisons was best explained by behaviors that resulted from their non-treatment. With the support of entrepreneur Theodore Stanley and his wife Vada, the Treatment Advocacy Center separated from NAMI shortly after its founding to focus entirely on promoting the legal changes to enable treatment for those who are most ill. Operating without funding from the pharmaceutical industry, the Treatment Advocacy Center has evolved into one of the nation's largest source of research on issues regarding untreated severe mental illness. The organization operates with the support of the closely affiliated Stanley Medical Research Institute, the largest nongovernment source of funding for research into bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in the United States, and many individual donors and foundations. Torrey continues to serve as a member of the Treatment Advocacy Center's board and is executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute.
The Treatment Advocacy Center engages in a wide range of activities and projects including:
- Development of a Model Law for Assisted Treatment (also called involuntary treatment). Released in 2000, the Model Law suggests a legal framework for authorizing court-ordered treatment of individuals with untreated severe mental illness who meet certain legal criteria around dangerousness to self or others or inability to care for oneself due to a mental illness.
- Advocacy for laws and policies to decrease the arrest, incarceration, homelessness, hospitalization, and violence that can occur when someone has untreated mental illness.
- Research and study into public policy and other issues related specific to severe mental illness.
- Education of policymakers and judges regarding severe mental illnesses and treatment availability.
- Support for the development of new treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses.
- Publications, Harvard Health. "Involuntary outpatient commitment - Harvard Health". Harvard Health. Retrieved 2017-08-13.