Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont typically can’t give you legal advice about the mental health system — except in a few circumstances.
- We can give advice to you if you are facing involuntary treatment or involuntary medication.
- If you are a defendant in a criminal case, we will be appointed to represent you if you have been found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
- We can give advice in some proceedings involving children’s access to mental health treatment and services.
- We can give advice about mental health care provider complaints and finding a provider.
For involuntary treatment or medication cases, the Family Division of the Superior Court appoints Vermont Legal Aid’s Mental Health Law Project (MHLP) to represent Vermonters. We help in both hospital and outpatient settings. We work to make sure your rights and liberty are protected. If you are the person facing involuntary treatment or involuntary medication, a MHLP attorney will contact you if a case was filed, or you can contact us for advice. In addition, if you are a defendant in a criminal case, we will be appointed to represent you if you have been found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity. We cannot help other callers, including family members.
For children with a mental health diagnosis who need help with access to treatment and services from community providers or from school districts, Vermont Legal Aid’s Disability Law Project (DLP) may be able to help. This may include denials, reduction or termination of services for a mental health diagnosis. For children with Coordination of Service Plans (CSPs, also known as Act 264 Plans) who have received placement denials by a Local or State Interagency Team, DLP may also be able to help. Contact us by phone or online form.
For other mental health system advice, contact Disability Rights Vermont.
Are you having a mental health emergency?
There are people who can help you.
- See this list of organizations in Vermont who can talk to you.
- Text “VT” to 741741 and talk to a counselor 24/7.
- Call the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Dial 988. Or visit their website and use their chat at https://988lifeline.org/.