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Assisted outpatient treatment is an organized, systematic effort within a mental health system to ensure that treatment will be made available and utilized by those suffering from severe mental illness in order to live safely in the community.


An estimated 7.9 million Americans suffer from untreated severe bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is court-ordered treatment for those individuals in this population who meet strict legal criteria. Most commonly, they are too ill to recognize their own need for medical care.


All too often, treatment for severely mentally ill individuals comes too late. This leads to substance abuse, homelessness, suicide, and, in the most extreme examples, otherwise preventable tragedies and violent crimes.


As a result of violent murders perpetrated individuals with untreated severe mental illness, the states of New York and California passed AOT laws. Tragically, similar events have taken place in recent years in Illinois and Connecticut.


Kendra’s Law: Established in 1999 in NY, following the death of Kendra Webdale who was pus­­hed in front of an oncoming subway car by someone with untreated mental illness.


Laura’s Law: Established in 2003 in California was named for Laura Wilcox, who was shot and killed by a man with untreated severe mental illness.


We are your neighbors. A group of Massachusetts residents made up of mental health professionals, concerned family members, community activists, guardians, who see firsthand the need for the passing of AOT in the Commonwealth.


Assisted outpatient treatment is known by different terms in different states, e.g., "involuntary outpatient treatment" or "mandatory outpatient treatment." The relevant term for each state can be found through the Visit Your State map that appears on this page. Statutory language from the 46 states with AOT laws can be found in "State Standards for Assisted Treatment.

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