I’m under 16 and in a psychiatric facility. What are my rights?
Question & AnswerI’m under 16 and in a psychiatric facility. What are my rights?
As a mental health patient younger than 16 years, you have most of the same rights as patients who are 16 years or older.
Rights all patients have
There are some rights that all patients have, no matter what their age. Your rights as a patient include the right to:
- access information in your health records
- privacy, which means only you and your health-care providers can access information in your health
- refuse treatment if you don’t want it
- challenge your doctor if they say you’re not capable of making your own health-care decisions
- speak to a lawyer and have a lawyer represent you
- be treated with dignity and respect
- not be discriminated against
When your age matters
There’s one important situation when you don’t have the same right as a patient 16 years or older: it’s when you’re an informal patient.
You’re an informal patient if:
- a doctor has decided you cannot understand your own health care,
- another person, known as a (SDM) makes your health-care decisions for you, and
- your SDM decides you need to be in a .
The rights of an informal patient younger than 16 years are different from those of an informal patient 16 years or older.
Informal patients 16 years or older can usually leave the facility on their own if they don’t want to be there. But if you’re younger than 16, you need permission from the Consent and Capacity Board to leave the facility. See Step 1 for more details.