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    Rights for People With Mental Illness

    People with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, should receive fair treatment and should be afforded certain rights. These include the right:

    • To be treated with respect and dignity
    • To have their privacy protected
    • To receive age and culturally appropriate services
    • To understand available treatment options and alternatives
    • To receive care that does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, or type of illness

    Individuals with mental illness may have rights that are protected under the following laws:

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    • Americans with Disabilities Act. This law protects people who have physical and mental disabilities from discrimination in employment, government services and activities, public accommodations, public transportation, and commercial businesses.
    • Fair Housing Amendments Act. This act outlaws housing discrimination on the basis of certain conditions, including disability. In addition, landlords and owners of rental housing must make reasonable attempts to accommodate people with disabilities.
    • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. This law allows the U. S. government to investigate government facilities, such as institutions for people with mental and physical disabilities, to remedy any problems in the care and safety of these individuals.
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law is designed to help children with disabilities achieve a quality education. Under the law, public school systems must create an education plan for each child with a disability, based on his or her needs.
    • Voting Rights Act. Individuals with psychiatric disabilities can sometimes lose the right to vote because of state law voter competence requirements. However, these individuals can take steps to have their voting rights restored. In addition, under the Voting Rights Act, individuals with disabilities (including psychiatric disabilities) have the right to get help with voting. People with disabilities can also decide who will help them vote, including friends or family members, service providers, poll workers, or others.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on April 19, 2015

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