One of the more significant legal decisions in the world of community mental health is that of the Olmstead Decision (1999). In short, the findings of the Olmstead Decision spurred the often cited right of people to receive services “in the least restrictive environment.”

As ACT is one of the more intensive, wrap-around models to help people with serious mental illness succeed in independent living settings, ACT is often viewed as a “least restrictive” alternative to many other institutional settings, and a state of homelessness.

As such, ACT should be a service option available in many locations, as part of a broader service system of care.

Read more about the Olmstead Decision here:

Enforcement of the Olmstead Decision has led to many state lawsuits and settlements.  What happens is a state is found to be relying on institutional setting options at a rate that out-balances the investment in community-based (“least restrictive”) options.  These settlements typically include many evidence-based programs and treatments found to help people in their recovery.

Curious as to who is in such a settlement?  Check this out:

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is also a great resource.  Check out their own Resource page, which includes many helpful links:

NAMI is often a good source for staying up to date with relevant legislature:,-Bad-News-in-State

The Treatment Advocacy Center is often keeping its finger on current laws relevant to those with serious mental illness, in particular involuntary commitment laws.  Although we believe a high-fidelity ACT team is capable of helping many people avoid involuntary and coercive treatments, it is one tool that often remains relevant to their work.  Check out this resource map: