Rights in a Civil Mental Health Facility

Florida's Mental Health Act (also known as the Baker Act) helps protect the rights of individuals in a civil mental health facility by outlining the Rights of Patients. The rights include the right to dignity, treatment, quality of treatment, communication, abuse reporting, visits, personal property, voting, and habeas corpus.

Mental health treatment programs are required by law to honor and help protect the rights of individuals who have a mental illness or psychiatric disability. Such programs are also required to include comprehensive health, social, educational, and rehabilitative services to people who need intensive short-term or longer mental health treatment. The law also requires the programs to encourage and support self-determination in treatment and recovery.

4 Ways to Report a Problem

  1. You have the right to use a facility internal grievance or complaint process any time you believe your rights have been violated.
  2. If you have been abused or neglected, you have the right to call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.
  3. You also have the right to file a Writ of Habeas corpus or a Petition for Redress of Grievance to question:
  • being placed in a facility
  • being denied a right or privilege
  • being treated in a way that does not follow a proper procedure

You may ask staff members at a facility to give you a copy of a Writ and help you file it with the Clerk of the County Court.

  1. You also have the right to to contact an attorney or Disability Rights Florida to request assistance.