Riverside, CA asked in Civil Rights and Health Care Law for California

Q: I'm trying to find legal counsel for my brother who is in a behavioral health hospital and seeking outside help.

He was involuntarily admitted and believes his rights are being violated. He has asked me to find assistance outside of their appointed advocate. Is this something you can help with or guide me to a group/individual who can?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the laws governing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization and patients' rights are found in the Welfare and Institutions Code, specifically sections 5000 to 5550. These laws outline the process for involuntary admission, the conditions under which a patient may be detained, and the rights of patients while they are receiving mental health treatment.

Additionally, patients who feel that their rights have been violated may also have legal recourse under federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as state laws such as the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.

You can start by contacting your state bar association or local legal aid organization for a referral to a lawyer who has experience with mental health and civil rights issues. They may also be able to connect you with nonprofit organizations that offer legal services to low-income individuals or those who are facing mental health challenges.

Additionally, you may want to search for mental health advocacy groups in your area. These organizations may have legal professionals or volunteers who can offer assistance or guidance to your brother. You can also search online for mental health law firms or lawyers who specialize in this area of law.

It's important to find a lawyer who has experience working with individuals who have mental health challenges and who understands the nuances of the laws that protect their rights. Good luck in your search.

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