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What is the Patients' Rights Advocate Program?

The Patients’ Rights Advocate Program is a state mandated program charged with rights protection and advocacy for all mental health consumers residing in both counties, and ​to assist recipients of mental health services to exercise their human and civil rights. Patients’ Rights Advocates represent a client's expressed desire as defined by the client as long this is within the bounds of the law and achievable within the Advocate’s resources. Advocates do not determine what is most appropriate for the client, or what may be in the client’s best interest. Rather, Advocates advise clients about their options, and the implications of those options, and assist the client to make an informed choice.

What are the duties of a Patients’ Rights Advocate?


  • To receive and investigate complaints from or concerning recipients of mental health services in licensed health or community care facilities regarding abuse or unreasonable denial or punitive withholding of rights guaranteed in California State law.

  • To monitor mental health facilities and programs for compliance with statutory and regulatory patients’ rights provisions.

  • To provide training and education about mental health law and patients’ rights to mental health providers

  • To ensure that every recipient of mental health services in all licensed health and community care settings are notified of their rights.

  • To exchange information and cooperate with the State Office of Patients’ Rights.


What is the role of the Patients’ Rights Advocate?

  • The role of the Patients’ Rights Advocate is to work on your behalf or your “expressed desire."

  • The Advocate works to insure that your human and civil rights are upheld by the mental health professionals.

  • The Advocate works to insure access to all mental health treatment. programs and services are available to all regardless of placement or residence.

  • The Advocate empowers the recipient of mental health service through support and training in self-advocacy.

What kinds of concerns or complaints does the Advocate work to resolve?

Advocates are trained to assist the client to resolve the following issues:

  • Verbal and physical abuse

  • Denial or limitation of patients’ rights

  • Breach of confidentiality

  • Lack of quality of care

  • Denial of access to Medi-cal funded services

  • Payee malfeasance

  • Lack of communication with, and follow-through, from the Conservator

  • Denial of access to treatment records

What will happen when I meet with the Patients’ Rights Advocate?
The Patients’ Rights Advocate does not work for the county or any mental health facility within the county. Our program is independent. Any concerns or complaints communicated to our agency will be held strictly confidential unless given written permission to communicate with any of the mental health staff within the county. The Advocate, in order to resolve the complaint, may ask questions such
as the names of the people involved as well as the date and time the issue occurred. The Advocate will fully inform you of all your options to resolve the complaint.



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If you need more immediate assistance, please call a Patients' Rights Advocate today!


Santa Cruz County

(831) 429-1913 

San Benito County

(831) 636-1638

To email an Advocate, click here.


Adult Residential Mental Health Facilities

5150 Pamphlet

5250 Pamphlet

LPS Civil Disability Worksheet

Gravely Disabled Worksheet

Questions for Your Psychiatrist

What is a Patients' Rights Advocate?

What is a Conservatorship?

Mental Health Patients' Rights Poster (English)

Póster de los Derechos de los Pacientes de Salud mental


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