Who We Are and What We Do



The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The organization promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) is a supporting organization of The Treatment Advocacy Center.


Since its founding in 1998, The Treatment Advocacy Center has grown to be a respected, independent voice for reforming treatment laws nationwide. We engage in a wide range of activities and projects aimed at increasing treatment for people with severe mental illness. Twenty-two states have made important changes to their civil commitment standards and treatment laws as a direct result of our advocacy since we were founded, and more progress is on the horizon. This website is designed to provide the public and policy makers with a reliable source of information about state treatment laws and family members with information and resources for helping loved ones with severe mental illness. 

  • Educating policymakers and judges about the true nature of severe brain disorders, advanced treatments available for those illnesses, and the necessity of court-ordered treatment in some cases
  • Assisting individuals who are working in their own states to promote laws that enable individuals with the most severe brain disorders to receive assisted treatment
  • Promoting innovative approaches to diverting individuals with severe mental illness away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment
  • Ensuring that individuals receive adequate psychiatric services and maintain medication compliance upon release from hospitals
  • Supporting the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

We focus on the sub-population of people whose brain disorders are the most severe and debilitating because this group is largely under-served by the mental health advocacy community at large and is most likely to benefit from tools like assisted outpatient treatment (AOT).

Our funding

The Treatment Advocacy Center is funded by a host of individual donors, foundations and grants. The Treatment Advocacy Center does not accept funding from companies or entities involved in the sale, marketing or distribution of pharmaceutical products. This stance is unusual in the mental health advocacy field.

Violence and stigma

The public's association of mental illness with violence is probably the major cause of stigma against people with mental illness. This association remains strong despite spreading awareness that mental illness is a medical condition and that violence is associated only with untreated mental illness. Therefore, the most effective way to decrease stigma is to reduce the incidence of such violent crimes. This can be done by making various forms of assisted treatment available to those whose mental illness is untreated.

Getting involved

Many opportunities exist to support the mission of the Treatment Advocacy Center.

  • Sign up so we can keep you informed in our periodic announcements and Catalyst newsletter and about developments in your state and the nation.
  • Become an advocate.
  • Donate. The Treatment Advocacy Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.




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