Phone: 727-686-1852 to speak to a professional Mental Health Rights Advocate!
Mental Health Rights Advocacy, Inc., is a nonprofit public-benefit organization that provides one of the most important yet basic human rights to Floridians during difficult times to help them secure their rights; the right to full factual information regarding mental health.
The work to eliminate abuse in the field of mental health is accomplished by fully informing individuals so that they can make informed decisions, assert their rights to lawful procedures, and file appropriate complaints when those lawful procedures are not followed.
Laurie Anspach, the Director of Mental Health Rights, has spent 20 years as a mental health advocate in Florida, working side-by-side with legal and medical professionals, advocates and volunteers, to assist individuals in protecting their mental health rights. Having helped people over such a long span of time, it is clear that when an individual gets full information of the facts, and specifically in regards to their situation, they are able to assert their rights.
Some parents are caught off guard when a teacher tells them their child has ADHD. They, typically, feel pressure to take their child to a doctor and get medication that carries strong FDA warnings for children. Yet, they have not been told that there is a Federal Law and Florida law that prohibits school personnel from pressuring them to medicate their child. Additionally, there is a Florida law and a global, legal concept, called “Informed Consent”, that permits a parent to know all risks and alternatives to the proposed treatment.
Many individuals don’t know that they can be brought into a mental health facility, under the Baker Act, and be held for 72 hours. These same individuals are unaware of the criteria for the Baker Act and therefore they are unaware if they meet the criteria or not. Facts, provided, within the laws, can help to get individuals, quickly aware of these issues and many more that arise, on a daily basis, in the field of mental health.
Elders are often living alone, with family that live out-of-state, and they, too, are unaware of the risks of the mental health drugs, the criteria for the Baker Act (therefore, awareness of how not to meet the criteria) and fraudulent guardianship and what to do about it if any of this happens to them.
Every individual has the right to know their rights! The facts, simple and understandable!
Mental Health Rights Advocacy is about helping the individual to get those facts for their particular and specific situation.
Child rights, preventing abuse of the elderly, protecting parental rights, helping families and friends whose loved one has been placed under the Baker Act, are some of the issues that a mental health rights advocate can assist you with.
Helping to inform you of medical research that has been done in terms of underlying physical causes of unwanted mental health symptoms, giving you the full FDA list of warnings that come with the package labeling on mental health drugs and listening to your particular concerns, are all part of our work.
In 1972, the Florida Statewide and Local Advocacy Councils were formed in reaction to conditions within mental health facilities that were abusive. They were formed to protect the rights of those who participated in mental health programs throughout Florida.
Yet, in 2010 it was announced that the Local Advocacy Councils lost their funding. They were manned by 270 volunteers and five full time staff to investigate complaints regarding those who were receiving any service under the Department of Children and Families.
There has not been a Council formed to replace them and this leaves individuals in the position of needing to find individual mental health rights advocates who can assure that they have full information in regards to their rights, the laws, resources available to help protect their rights, and more.
From Stephen A. Talmadge PhD, ABFP*, Esq.
I have been studying Florida’s Baker Act since 2006. I am a psychologist and attorney who practices exclusively Baker Act law. I am writing to endorse Laurie Anspach, (Director of Mental Health Rights, Advocacy, Inc.) because although she is not an attorney, she knows this area quite extensively. She has 20 years of experience in this area, and civil rights in general. It has been my experience that frequently individuals who get Baker Acted (and their significant others) know little about the process. It has also been my experience that psychiatric facilities may not be completely forthcoming about the Baker Act process.
Many times individuals who get Baker Acted (and their significant others) just want basic questions answered before they decide to hire an attorney. Laurie Anspaugh’s non-profit approach provides a low cost alternative to hiring an attorney. I highly recommend contacting her. Although she does not operate a lawyer referral service, she is a good resource to use to find out more about the Baker Act or civil liberties.
Every day in Florida someone is held for involuntary psychiatric examination (Baker Act) for the scantiest of reasons. It is not infrequent that the person for whom the examination is initiated never has any court interaction. I strongly recommend that you make informed decisions based upon information from a knowledgeable person other than someone at the psychiatric facility.
Stephen A. Talmadge PhD, ABFP*, Esq.
*Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Psychology