National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from NAMI Tulare County
Patients' Rights Advocate
NAMI Tulare County
Patients’ Rights Advocate
The Patients’ Rights Advocate (PRA) representing mental health consumers in each county is designated by the County, Director of Mental Health. The State of California has mandated that each county have one (PRA) for every 500,000 residents.
In providing services it is the advocates’ role or responsibility to advocate for and assist the consumer in expressing their wishes. This means that the advocate does not form an opinion of what he/she sees as the consumers’ best or most appropriate choice, but rather speak as an echo of the expressed wish of the consumer.
It becomes the PRA’s responsibility to advise the consumer of their options and provide information which will assist them in making an informed choice.
Historically, PRA’s primary responsibility has been the investigation and resolution of individual problems. This can involve an explanation of consumer rights and remedies, assistance in negotiating a solution to a problem or other dispute resolution processes. History has also shown that in the past mental health consumers have benefited from advocacy representing their perspective. PRA’s help to insure the dignity, privacy and humane care of mental health consumers by standing in the gap of stigma associated with mental illness.