Individuals with mental illness, especially those who reside in treatment facilities are among the groups most vulnerable to potential neglect and abuse. To help ensure that individuals receive appropriate care and treatment, each county has a system to protect and advocate for the rights of people with mental illness.

Services provided include general information and referrals; investigation of alleged abuse, neglect, and rights violations in facilities; and use of legal, legislative, systemic, and other remedies to correct verified incidents. The following organizations may be of help in these situations. Additionally, most service providers and non-profits have internal grievance procedures. Contact the program directly to ask about these grievance procedures.

San Francisco Mental Health Clients’ Rights

tel: 415-552-8100 San Francisco Department of Public Health
1095 Market Street, Suite 610, San Francisco

  • Help informally resolve complaints about services provided to you or your family
  • Help file formal grievances against a mental health service provider

California Department of Managed Health Care

tel: 1-800-HMO-HELP
7667 Folsom Boulevard, Suite 102, Sacramento, CA 95814

  • Information about group health coverage and HMOs
  • Information about how the law protects your rights as a patient
  • Ask for an Independent Medical Review (IMR)

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

tel: 202-467-5730
1101 15th Street NW, Suite 1212, Washington, DC 20005

  • Legal advocate for people with mental disabilities
  • Litigation, policy advocacy, and public education
  • Produce booklets, books, manuals, and papers interpreting and relating laws to patients
  • Correct discrepancies in copayment charges and annual visit limits

Disability Rights California

tel: 916-488-9955 / toll free: 1-800-776-5746 / TTY: 1-800-719-5798
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 185-N, Sacramento, CA 95825

  • File lawsuits on behalf of groups or individuals
  • Investigate charges of neglect or abuse
  • Build self/peer support groups and community partnerships
  • Provide information about rights of people with disabilities
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