What are my rights as a psychiatric patient?

2. Get help if your rights are violated

If you think someone violated your rights, it's usually a good idea to speak to a lawyer or a Rights Adviser about your situation. For example, you might think your rights are violated if your doctor:

  • isn't giving you access to the information in your health
  • spoke to someone else, for example, a parent or a family member, about your health care without your permission
  • is treating you badly because of your race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
  • began treating you without explaining the and didn't give you a chance to agree to or reject the treatment

Rights Advisers

If you're a patient in a , you have the right to talk to a Rights Adviser in certain situations. For example, if you've just become an .

A Rights Adviser is a person who helps you understand your health-care rights. They can answer your questions about the mental health system and tell you what your legal options are.

A Rights Adviser isn't a lawyer, but they can help you contact a lawyer if you want one. A Rights Adviser is there to help you. They are not there to help the doctors or the facility.

If you're a patient in a psychiatric facility and need help finding a Rights Adviser, you can contact the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office at 1-800-578-2343.

Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario gives free legal advice to people with low income.  In certain situations involving mental health and psychiatric facilities, Legal Aid Ontario can also give you a certificate for a free lawyer. For example, if you're being held in a psychiatric facility against your will or if your doctor has said you're not able to make your own health-care decisions. You can reach Legal Aid Ontario by calling 1-800-668-8258, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other Lawyers

The Law Society Referral Service gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who can give you a free consultation for up to 30 minutes. You can ask for a lawyer who speaks your language, or a lawyer who accepts Legal Aid certificates. You can get the name of a lawyer by using the website. If you cannot use the online service on their website, you can call the crisis line at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 in Toronto. This service is available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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