Mental Hygiene Legal Service
ABOUT MENTAL HYGIENE LEGAL SERVICE
- MHLS offers legal representation, advice and assistance to persons
residing in facilities for the mentally disabled concerning retention, release, care, and treatment. The facilities may be state,
city, voluntary, or private, and may be community based or institutional.
- MHLS investigates complaints of clients, their relatives, and friends
concerning care and treatment.
- MHLS has complete access to facility records of the mentally disabled in
New York State. We keep all client information confidential.
- MHLS accepts requests for help or information from clients, their
family, or friends who contact MHLS by telephone, letter, or personal visits.
- MHLS represents the mentally disabled in civil commitment proceedings
and other cases. Our staff offers various alternatives and solutions to advocate a client's wishes and interests.
We may file lawsuits on behalf of our clients.
- MHLS represents individuals subject to court ordered Assisted
- MHLS also represents individuals in need of a guardian, when
authorized by a court, regardless of the individual's residence.
- MHLS refers a person to the appropriate agency if a request is outside
our jurisdiction. For example, we do not represent individuals in matters regarding wills, divorces, or actions for
damages against other individuals.
It is the duty of the Mental Hygiene Legal Service, Fourth Judicial Department to ensure the continued
constitutional validity, and the overall legality, of the system of admission, retention, and care and treatment of
individuals pursuant to the Mental Hygiene Law, and to represent individuals in guardianships and in certain other
proceedings initiated due to concerns over the status of their mental health. This duty must be carried out in a
fashion that recognizes the concerns of the public, and enforces and respects the rights of the individuals involved.