Mental Health

Group counseling session

Mental Health

We work toward increased empowerment and choice for individuals with mental health issues and improving the adequacy of children's mental health services in schools and in the community.

Know Your Rights

New Hampshire law (RSA 135-C) guarantees certain rights for individuals who receive mental health services, including:
  • The right to be free from discrimination;
  • The right not to be abused or neglected;
  • The right to be treated in the least restrictive environment necessary for treatment;
  • The right to refuse unwanted medication, treatment, or services (except in emergencies);
  • The right to be informed and give consent before any treatment;
  • The right to be free from seclusion or restraint (except in emergencies);
  • The right to communicate freely and privately;
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect.

The Law

Under the the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act (PAIMI), DRC-NH is authorized to access public and private residential facilities, along with residents and resident records, while investigating reports of abuse. Particularly, we investigate incidents involving the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint, neglect, and civil rights violations in these facilities, and related facilities, that either provide care or treatment to these individuals.

RSA 135-C, New Hampshire’s Mental Health Services System

He-M Rules for Services for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

RSA 330-A, Mental Health Practice

Obligation of Facilities to Report to DRC-NH Concerning Resident Deaths

We Can Help

If you, or someone you know, is an individual with a mental illness or emotional impairment who resides in an institution or lives in the community and has experienced discrimination, you can report this information to DRC-NH.  As a Protection and Advocacy System under federal law, DRC-NH can investigate a facility if we receive a report or determine there is probable cause to believe that a person with a disability may have been abused or neglected.

DRC-NH has investigated many facilities throughout New Hampshire, shedding light on harmful conditions, prompting reforms, and even leading policymakers to shut down a problematic facility. Examples of DRC-NH’s investigative work include In the Matter of B.T., Amanda D. v. Hassan, and the Death of D.M.

Community Mental Health Agreement

As a result of a landmark class action case (Amanda D v. Hassan), DRC-NH represents adults with serious mental illness who are entitled to services and supports in the community rather than institutions like New Hampshire Hospital and the Glencliff Nursing Home.  Read more about the Community Mental Health Agreement.

The Olmstead Decision

June 2019 marked the twentieth anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark Olmstead decision, holding that unjustified isolation and segregation of people with disabilities constitutes discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In 2012, relying on Olmstead, DRC-NH and its partners, commenced a landmark class action case against the State of New Hampshire (Amanda D., et al.  v. Hassan). The subsequent settlement, known as the Community Mental Health Settlement Agreement (CMHA), resulted in a significant expansion of community-based mental health services.

To learn more about the CMHA and our Olmstead work visit Celebrating 20 Years of Olmstead.

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If You Need Help

Contact us if your think your rights have been violated or if you wish to speak with an attorney about a disability-related legal issue.

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