Getting legal help

Mental health

If you need legal help with a mental health hearing or appeal, speak with the patient advocate or rights advisor in the facility where you are admitted or receiving treatment. The patient advocate or rights advisor can advise you of your rights and help you choose a lawyer if one is needed.

For more information, call Legal Aid Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446. Legal Aid Ontario accepts collect calls.

Duty counsel for mental health cases


People appearing in mental health court on a criminal matter without a lawyer are usually assisted by duty counsel at their first appearance. After the first appearance, people who cannot apply for legal aid on their own can receive help in one of the following ways:

  • Through a lawyer or criminal duty counsel

    Lawyers or duty counsel can request legal aid on a client's behalf if the client is not able to apply for it. Legal Aid Ontario will also help the person find a lawyer to take their case.

  • With a legal aid worker or a patient advocate/rights advisor

    People who are in custody or in a mental health care facility can get assistance with legal aid applications from the patient advocate/rights advisor in mental health facilities where they are being held or have been admitted. Correctional facilities have legal aid staff that can help people to apply.

For more information, call Legal Aid Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8258 or 416-979-1446. Legal Aid Ontario accepts collect calls.

Definitions

Patient advocate

A patient advocate acts as a go-between for patients and health care providers. They can speak on behalf of patients if they are unable to communicate effectively.

Rights advisor

A rights advisor helps patients understand whats happening in situations where their legal status has been changed. Rights advisors inform patients of their rights and options, help patients make applications to the Consent and Capacity Board, and obtain legal counsel if necessary.

Consent and Capacity Board

The Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) is an independent provincial tribunal. Most of the CCBs work involves a review of a person's involuntary status in a psychiatric facility under the Mental Health Act, or a review under the Health Care Consent Act of a person's capacity to consent to or refuse treatment.
Find out more.

Other resources:

See our Other Resources section for more mental health information.

Please note that these are external links and we are not responsible for their content.