Rights of Individuals Receiving Services in Civilian Facilities

Each person receiving services and/or their parent should be informed by the healthcare provider of their rights while receiving services and should also receive a written copy of these rights. Specific wording will vary for different states and treatment facilities. The basic rights of someone receiving mental health services include (but are not limited to):

  • Informed consent—each adult (or guardian if the person being treated is under 18) must sign a consent form for their treatment. Before signing, the healthcare provider must have explained to them the type of treatment to be provided, its risks and benefits, how long the treatment is expected to last and any available, reasonable alternatives to that treatment.
  • Referral by their provider to another facility if theirs is unequipped to serve them 
  • Refusal of treatment
  • Not experiencing corporal (physical) punishment or unethical treatment. This includes harassment, verbal abuse and the use of restraints by staff to coerce, discipline or get back at the person receiving treatment.
  • Personal privacy
  • Considerate, respectful treatment from all employees of the provider program
  • Non-discrimination based on religious belief, race, creed, sex, age, national origin, political belief or handicapping condition
  • Participation in and a copy of the comprehensive treatment plan
  • Access to the individual’s own medical record (for children under 18 years of age, the parent has the right to access the records)
  • Culturally competent services
  • Confidentiality—the provider organization cannot share information about you without your written consent; including family members. Remember—as family members, you can always talk to them. There is no law or ethical code that prevents a provider from listening to a family member.

This list is an example and is by no means all-inclusive. If a treatment provider or facility doesn’t offer you a copy of your rights as a recipient of their services, ask for it. If they don’t have one available, rethink whether or not this is the best service provider for you.

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