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MAMH has long been a pioneer and a national leader in the movement to ensure the rights of people with mental health conditions. In 1975, MAMH joined with patients at Northampton State Hospital and the Arc of Massachusetts in the first class action lawsuit in the nation to claim that residents of a state hospital had a constitutional right to receive mental health services in the least restrictive environment. The Northampton Consent Decree established the state’s first comprehensive community mental health system and nearly all the patients were relocated to community-based programs and services.  

Today MAMH continues to translate this commitment to fairness into action. Our People are Waiting campaign highlights the persistent need for enhanced community-based services by shedding a light on the number people who remain unnecessarily in Department of Mental Health hospitals. We advocate tirelessly for the enforcement of legal rights for justice-involved persons with mental health conditions. And, with our partners on the Massachusetts Mental Health Parity Coalition, MAMH works to ensure that people with behavioral health conditions receive the same level of health insurance benefits and access to services as people with physical health conditions. We believe the enforcement of legal rights and the eradication of differential treatment are cornerstones of a strong and healthy Commonwealth.