Major Points Regarding Your Rights While You Are A Patient At A DMH Mental Health Center or Clinic:

  • You have a right to be informed of your rights.
  • You have right to be informed regarding methods of resolving possible violations of your rights.
  • You may seek advice and assistance from the Client Advocacy Program.
  • You may contact an attorney of your choice.
  • You are entitled to a safe and humane environment.
  • You have a right to as much freedom of movement as possible.  This right may be limited only when it is necessary for the protection of yourself, others, and the community.
  • You have the right to refuse therapy unless required by law.
  • You have a right to participate in the formulation of your treatment plan and to know the names of the staff members responsible for your care.
  • You have a right to recognized psychiatric treatment.  This right includes receiving information regarding risks, side effects, and anticipated benefits of all medication and treatment.
  • You have the right to refuse participation in any research project and to refuse non-standard psychiatric treatment.
  • You have a right to know the cost of your treatment and to know the source of any assistance available in meeting these expenses.
  • You have a right to have all information concerning your treatment kept confidential except when State law permits disclosure.]
  • You may report any suspected abuse or neglect or exploitation of patients without fear or reprisal.
  • In exercising your rights, you may not infringe on the rights of others.  You also have certain basic responsibilities and you have a right to know what is expected of you.

*If you are a minor 15 years of age or younger an authorized person may exercise these rights on your behalf.

Patient Responsibilities

  • Ask questions when you do not understand what is happening to you.
  • Let a member of the staff know when you have a problem or feel sick.
  • Take part in planning and participating in your own therapy and treatment program and provide information concerning your medical history.
  • Attend scheduled activities and keep appointments.
  • Show respect for the property and rights of others.
  • Keep yourself clean and dressed (insofar as you are physically able).
  • Obey the laws which apply to all citizens.
  • Be familiar with and observe the rules and policies of your center.
  • Accept responsibility for your actions.
  • Cooperate in the goal of the achieving self sufficiency in the management of your every day living.


 If you feel your rights are being violated, you should talk to your assigned center staff.  If you are unable to get the matter resolved, you may register a complaint with the local center advocate.

 You may also contact the DMH Patient Advocacy Program.

Written by George P. Gintoli, former Director of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health
July 2001