Patients' Rights Advocacy Services

Humboldt County provides a patients' rights advocate who can be reached by phone or email.

An advocate is available to help

Advocates help consumers:
  • Understand rights regarding
    • Involuntary commitment
    • Guardianship
    • Conservatorships
    • Care in the least restrictive environment.
  • File complaints
  • Access services and programs.
Any patient who believes his or her rights have been abused, punitively withheld, or unreasonably denied may file a complaint with the patients’ rights advocate or with the Quality Improvement unit of DHHS Mental Health. 

What is advocacy?

"Advocacy" means those activities undertaken on behalf of persons who are receiving or have received mental health services to protect their rights or to secure or upgrade treatment or other services to which they are entitled.
—Welfare & Institutions (W&I Code), Sec 5500(a).

What is advocacy within a Mental Health facility?

Advocacy works to:
  • Represent the client’s expressed interest
  • Maintain the rights of individuals as identified in the W&I Code
  • Provide client representation during Certification Review Hearings
  • Provide training and education to clients and staff regarding patients’ rights
  • Act as a liaison to the Office of Patients' Rights
  • Conduct routine monitoring of local facilities.

Whose interests do advocates represent?

Advocates represent consumers' interests, as defined by the consumer, as long as those interests are within the bounds of the law and achievable within both the law and advocates' resources. Advocates assist adults and minors receiving mental health services voluntarily or involuntarily.

Patients’ Rights

Patients in mental health facilities are guaranteed the following rights which may be denied only for good cause:
  • The right to humane care
  • The right to be free of abuse or neglect
  • The right to social activities and recreation
  • The right to education
  • The right to religious freedom and practice
  • The right to be free from discrimination
  • The right to wear your own clothing
  • The right to keep and be allowed to spend a reasonable sum of your own money
  • The right to have visitors each day
  • The right to access a telephone, both to make and receive confidential calls and to have such calls made for you
  • The right to receive unopened correspondence.