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Advocacy group releases mental health law guide for students

[JURIST] The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law [advocacy website] this week released a guide [text, PDF; press release] addressing the legal rights of students seeking help for mental illness or emotional distress. The report, Campus Mental Health: Know Your Rights!, provides guidance to students on privacy, academic and disciplinary issues associated with mental health treatment at American colleges and universities. The guide advises students who are placed on involuntary leave or refused re-admission because of mental or emotional health issues to file grievances with their school's disability compliance officer. The Bazelon guide echoes the concerns of US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced legislation [S 3311] in July to improve mental and behavioral health services on college campuses. The bill is being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions [official website].

On Tuesday, Congress passed legislation [H.R. 6983 text, PDF; JURIST report] to reduce inequities in the insurance coverage of mental health and addiction treatment by amending the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) [text]. The bill would bring insurance payments for such treatment in line with those for treatment of physical disorders. Mental health advocacy groups and insurance industry groups applauded the legislation, praising it as a step forward in the legal and social protection of those suffering from mental illness.

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