Lisa Dailey Named Executive Director Of Treatment Advocacy Center, New Challenges

Lisa Dailey takes charge of TAC

(9-10-21) I was delighted to learn this week that Lisa Dailey has been chosen as the Treatment Advocacy Center’s new executive director. I’ve worked with Lisa on criminal justice matters and have been impressed with her knowledge and concern for individuals with severe mental illnesses who are languishing in jails and prisons. TAC initially was founded to push for passage of Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws, but has expanded through the years, fighting the IMD Exclusion and calling for more treatment beds. Unlike the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America, it does not accept funding from major pharmaceutical groups.

Here is the organization’s press release.

Treatment Advocacy Center Welcomes New Executive Director

Seasoned mental health advocate and longtime Treatment Advocacy Center staffer, Lisa Dailey, spearheads the organization into a new age of advocacy

 ARLINGTON, Va. – The Treatment Advocacy Center, a leading nonprofit that advocates for the elimination of barriers to effective treatment for individuals with severe mental illness, announced today the appointment of Lisa Dailey as the organization’s new executive director.

Leveraging the public’s heightened understanding of mental health as a public health priority, Dailey plans to build on the Treatment Advocacy Center’s impressive impact by increasing the organization’s public education efforts and expanding its grassroots advocacy to empower more individuals to advocate for improved mental illness treatment laws across the country. She also plans to bolster the organization’s efforts to hold the federal government accountable by pushing for desperately needed medical advances in severe mental illness treatment and intervention.

“Thanks to the work of my talented colleagues, Treatment Advocacy Center is the premier source of information and advocacy regarding severe mental illness,” said Executive Director Lisa Dailey. “I am deeply honored that the Board of Directors has entrusted me with the responsibility of leading this organization during this unprecedented time in our country, when mental health has never been a more urgent priority.”

Dailey has served as acting executive director of Treatment Advocacy Center since January 2021, following the departure of longtime Executive Director John Snook. Prior to her acting leadership role, she served as the organization’s director of advocacy since 2019. In her time at Treatment Advocacy Center, she has led advocacy efforts in California to expand the adoption of Laura’s Law to nine additional counties, was the lead author on two iterations of “Grading the States,” the first comprehensive evaluation of civil commitment laws by state published since 2014, and successfully lobbied for the improvement of civil commitment criteria and other SMI legislation in nine states. Prior to becoming director of advocacy, she spent three years as legislative and policy counsel for the organization.

“We are thrilled that Lisa will lead the Treatment Advocacy Center and help us continue the tremendous progress we’ve made in our mission to eliminate the barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illness,” said Dr. Michael Knable, president of the Treatment Advocacy Center Board of Directors. “Lisa’s proven leadership in a variety of key roles at Treatment Advocacy Center has been vital to our extraordinary impact over the last five years. Her background as a lawyer, mental health advocate and family member make her ideally suited to helm our organization during these challenging times for our country.”

Dailey began her work with Treatment Advocacy Center in 2015, after spending a decade as a trial attorney in the areas of civil litigation, civil liberties, human rights and asylum. She first became familiar with the work of Treatment Advocacy Center founder Dr. E. Fuller Torrey in a first-year psychology course at Macalester College, when the class watched a video featuring an interview with Dr. Torrey about the history of psychiatry in America. A few years later, Dailey’s sister experienced a sudden psychotic break at the age of 20, forcing Dailey and her family to navigate an extremely broken public mental health system in search of care.

“Lisa’s passion for our mission and excellent administrative skills make her ideally suited to lead Treatment Advocacy Center at this critical time. TAC is indeed in good hands,” said Treatment Advocacy Center founder Dr. E. Fuller Torrey.

Dailey hopes to create space for the organization to strengthen direct lines of communication with local advocates who are bettering the lives of individuals with and affected by severe mental illness in under-resourced, underrepresented communities, where outreach has historically been limited. This includes through Treatment Advocacy Center’s newly established DJ Jaffe Advocate position, dedicated to the memory of former board member and champion of people with severe mental illness, DJ Jaffe.

“As I take on this new role, my focus and Treatment Advocacy Center’s focus will continue to be advocating for continued medical advances for people with severe mental illness, and compassionate treatment laws that give the benefit of them to our loved ones,” said Dailey.

Dailey received a master of studies in international human rights law from the University of Oxford after earning a J.D. from Hamline Mitchell School of Law. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and English from Macalester College.


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

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.