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The silhouettes of three overlapping heads. May is mental health awareness month.

Mental health disability? You have rights.

May 2024 Newsletter

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a good time to make sure people with mental health disabilities know their rights. These rights are essential for ensuring your dignity, autonomy, and full participation in life.

A federal law passed in 1986, the PAIMI Act, designates agencies like Disability Rights Texas to (A) investigate abuse and neglect and rights violations in public and private facilities and community settings, and (B) advocate for your rights.

Below are some of the rights of people who experience mental health conditions.

  • Right to privacy: People with mental illness have the right to privacy and confidentiality regarding their mental health information. Healthcare providers must maintain confidentiality and obtain informed consent before disclosing any information.
  • Right to liberty and independence: Individuals have the right to make their own decisions and be in control of their life, just like everyone else.
  • Right to community integration: People with mental illness have the right to live and participate in their communities to the fullest extent possible, with access to appropriate housing, employment, education, and social opportunities.
  • Right to be free from abuse and neglect: Individuals have the right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation, whether in healthcare settings, residential facilities, or the community.
  • Right to access quality services: Individuals have the right to access quality mental health services that are affordable, culturally competent, and respectful of their individual needs and preferences.

´╗┐Protecting and promoting the rights of people with mental illness requires ongoing efforts to combat stigma, improve access to care, and advocate for policies and practices that uphold their dignity.

Learn more:

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Get help from DRTx

Statewide Intake Line: 1.800.252.9108

Sign Language Video Intake Line: 1.866.362.2851

´╗┐Purple Video Intake Line: 1.512.271.9391

Our regular intake hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you can't call then, or if you can't get through due to high call volume, you can complete our online intake form anytime. 

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Disability Rights Self-Advocacy Resources

DRTx Website

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Disability Rights Texas is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit for more information.