Your Rights

A large part of advocacy involves the protection of individual rights. There are many federal and state laws which affect the rights of people with mental illnesses. This website highlights a few, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which is a federal law protecting the rights of people with physical and mental disabilities, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) another federal law pertaining to privacy and confidentiality of medical records and Kendra’s Law (or AOT), a state law dealing with involuntary outpatient treatment.

ADA Official Website:

HIPAA Official Website:

It is important to know what your rights are and what guarantees you have under the law.

Our website is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and you should contact an attorney or Nassau/Suffolk Law Services at (516) 483-6560 or, in the case of the ADA, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if you want to find out whether your rights have been violated.

There are links throughout this website to help you get more information. Please go to Links of Interest to find organizations, departments and websites which may prove helpful.


Nearly 1 in 5 adults, more than 18%, in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year.

5-6% of American adults have a serious mental illness; about 2% have disorders that are long-term and disabling, contributing to very high rates of unemployment and poor living conditions.

More than 450 million people around the world live with mental illnesses.

20-25% of Americans have a diagnosable mental and/or substance use disorder in any given year: 6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness.

There were approximately 20.6 million people in the United States over the age of 12 with an addiction in 2011, excluding tobacco.

Over 3 million people in 2011 received treatment for their addiction.

The Long Island Coalition estimated that there are approximately 3,000 homeless people in Nassau County and 64 of them are living on the streets.

30-40% of homeless adults and 15-20% of people in jails and prisons in the United States have a serious mental illness. This is often accompanied by substance abuse problems in both these populations.

As many as 10% of children have a serious emotional disturbance, contributing to school failure and other serious problems.

Just over 20 percent of children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.

It is estimated that 1 in 68 children in the US have autism.

As the number of older adults doubles over the next two decades so will the number of older adults with mental disordersThis includes 5.5 million older adults who currently have Alzheimer’s disorder or other dementia. Without advances in prevention, this will rise to 11 million older adults with dementia by 2050.

11 to 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD.

30% of soldiers develop mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.

Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (aka PTSD, an anxiety disorder that follows experiencing a traumatic event) are the most common mental health problems faced by returning troops.