Campaign Launch Timed with Mental Health Awareness Month

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month (May), esteemed mental
health attorney Carolyn
Reinach Wolf
has embarked on an awareness campaign to encourage
individuals and families struggling with mental health issues to
understand their legal rights and how to best advocate for them.

Ms. Wolf, Executive Partner at the law firm of Abrams Fensterman and
Director of its Mental Health Law Practice, is one of the few
family-focused mental healthcare attorneys in the country. Supported by
a team of mental health clinicians and related professionals, she
specializes in guiding families through the complex landscape of legal
issues that impact loved ones with serious mental illness, substance
abuse issues or other mental health concerns.

According to Ms. Wolf, families and loved ones of individuals with
mental health issues must litigate for their rights as they pertain to
an individual’s mental health treatment and other matters. These rights
include but are not limited to:

  • The right to bring forward a legal proceeding to have someone
    appointed to manage the individual’s health care and/or financial
  • The right to request that a court direct their loved one to be
    committed to a hospital for evaluation and/or treatment (depending on
    state law)
  • The right to obtain an Order of Protection if their loved one is
    threatening or violent toward others in a family or living situation
  • The right to apply for guardianship, as appropriate, to support a
    loved one’s efforts to get stability and protection for the individual
    with mental health and related issues

Moreover, individuals with mental health issues are afforded certain
rights pursuant to existing federal and state laws. These include but
are not limited to:

  • The right to a court hearing and legal representation if they request
    their release from a psychiatric unit before the hospital believes
    they should be discharged or they refuse treatment
  • The right to not include family or loved ones in discharge plans from
    mental health facilities
  • The right to make choices not in their best interest unless shown to a
    court that they lack the capacity to manage their lives or pose a
    danger to themselves and/or others

Ms. Wolf says there are other legal means for families looking to play a
role in their loved one’s treatment, including healthcare proxies,
living wills and powers of attorney. That said, these vehicles are all
fully revocable and thus more tenuous for individuals who have a history
of mental health crises.

A detailed list of legal rights specific to individuals and
families/loved ones affected by mental illness is available online at

As part of the awareness campaign, Carolyn is encouraging mental health
clinicians and other professionals who work closely with families –
attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, etc. – to use and/or share
the online legal content as necessary.

“There are too few attorneys specializing in mental health law for the
number of individuals and families struggling to cope with the legal
aspects accompanying serious mental health issues,” said Ms. Wolf.
“While nothing can serve as a substitute for personalized legal counsel,
it is my hope that this resource will go a long way toward providing
crucial and needed assistance for those who need such help and don’t
know where to turn.”


Sharon Horowitz
LAK Public Relations
212 329 1428
[email protected]