What are my rights as a mental health patient?

As a mental health (psychiatric) patient, you have rights. If you are a danger to yourself or others, a doctor can limit your rights.

Your rights are protected by the Mental Health Act. In general, you have the same rights as anyone else in Ontario. You can learn more about general patient rights from our article.

For example, you have the right to:

  • Accept or refuse treatment, if you are capable of making treatment decisions.
  • Make informed decisions about your treatment.
  • Leave the hospital, if you are a voluntary patient.
  • Get information about why you are being held in the hospital, if you are an involuntary patient.
  • Privacy and confidentiality.
  • And much more.

This is not a complete list. These are just a few of your rights. You can find more detailed information in What are your rights as a psychiatric patient?

If you are a danger to yourself or to others, a doctor can make you stay in the hospital. A doctor can force you to take medication. During this time, you have the right to get a lawyer.

Information about the rights of psychiatric patients is available from the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office (PPAO) and Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO).

For More Information

  • Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office(PPAO) - Advocates for mental health patients and gives information about your rights as a mental health patient.
  • Human Rights and Mental Health - Information about your rights, if you have a mental health disability or an addiction. It looks at your rights in the workplace, housing and accessing services. From the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
  • Mental Health - Your Rights - These fact sheets talk about your rights and what to do if you have experienced discrimination because of your mental health. Available in many languages. From ARCH Disability Law Centre.
  • Health & Disability Law - Clear language publications on legal topics relating to health and disability.
  • Mental Health Act - Laws and regulation on mental health from e-laws Ontario.
Last updated: April 4, 2023 4001286