Legal Rights

Here are several sources for information about legal rights pertaining to psychiatric disabilities:

  • The National Disability Rights Network (202-408-9514; is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to protection, advocacy, and assistance for people with disabilities. The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP)—legally-based disability rights agencies—are described in detail on the website, along with how the network remedies unfair or illegal treatment of the disabled.
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (202-467-5730; is an organization whose purpose is to protect the rights of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. The site lists mental health advocacy resources in every state.
  • The Balanced Mind Foundation web site contains a guide called "Legal Issues of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder".

You should be aware that these organizations do not provide legal advice, but may refer you to a lawyer in your area that specializes in mental health law.

Legal Issues of Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

The guide includes information about health insurance, child custody, allegations of abuse, the juvenile justice system, consent for treatment, disclosure of medical information, finding attorneys and advocates, suggestions for workers in the Juvenile Justice System, and other resources.

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Bazelon Center envisions an America where people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities exercise their own life choices and have access to the resources that enable them to participate fully in their communities.

National Disability Rights Network

The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Through training and technical assistance, legal support, and legislative advocacy, NDRN works to create a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equality of opportunity and are able to fully participate by exercising choice and self-determination. Learn more about NDRN.