Role of the Alberta Mental Health Patient Advocate
The Mental Health Patient Advocate (MHPA) was established in 1990 under the Mental Health Act. The MHPA is legislated to help people who are or have been detained in hospital under admission or renewal certificates and people under community treatment orders (CTO), and those acting on their behalf, to understand and exercise their rights. MHPA may investigate complaints or refer the complainant to another body that can assist. Click here to learn more about mental health rights that are set out in the Mental Health Act.
The MHPA reports to the Minister of Health and acts independently of the health system. The MHPA is not part of a provincial health authority, hospital, clinic, or treatment team. Our services are at no cost to you.
If you have questions or concerns and are a youth, adult or senior who is receiving or has received care while under the Mental Health Act, or if you are acting on behalf of someone who is, the MHPA may be able to help you.
If you feel you are alone, please remember that we are here to help you find the necessary information and support. We welcome your call. Anyone may submit an inquiry for information or lodge a complaint on behalf of themselves or an individual. Complaints could pertain to the patient's rights under the Mental Health Act, how a patient may obtain legal counsel, how to make an application to the review panel, or how to commence an appeal in the court of Queen's Bench. If you do not fall under our mandate, we will connect you with someone who can assist.
The Mental Health Patient Advocate may undertake an investigation of an individual’s complaint that may result in recommendations to a hospital board, health authority, or a psychiatrist who issued a CTO.
If the Mental Health Patient Advocate is of the opinion that the hospital board, health authority, or issuing psychiatrist has not taken appropriate action on any of the MHPA's recommendations, the MHPA is required by law to send a copy of the investigation report and the hospital board, health authority, or psychiatrist's response, if any, to the Minister of Alberta Health.
The Mental Health Patient Advocate does not require a complaint in order to initiate and conduct an investigation and make recommendations into certain procedures related to admission of a person detained in the facility; the issuance, amendment or renewal of a CTO; and informing a patient of the their rights and providing information as required by the Mental Health Act to a patient and to guardians, nearest relatives or designates of a patient.
The Mental Health Patient Advocate supports individuals to exercise their rights. THe MHPA may be asked by policy makers to provide their perspective on policies.
The Mental Health Patient Advocate provides information about Mental Health Act rights of individuals who are or have been detained in hospital or subject to a CTO as well as other information such as how to obtain legal counsel and how to apply to the Review Panel. We assist people who are under the Mental Health Act to understand and exercise their rights.
E ducational Services
The Mental Health Patient Advocate promotes and supports individual’s rights for those under the Mental Health Act and brings awareness to issues in mental health through presentations, training and knowledge exchange for health professionals, community organizations, families and caregivers, those who use mental health services, post-secondary students, the public and others at no cost. To book a presentation, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mental Health Patient Advocate cannot:
- Represent an individual at court or tribunals;
- Reverse a clinical or administrative decision;
- Take disciplinary action against any health service provider;
- Order any fines or other penalties;
- Investigate complaints involving federal or municipal governments, police, universities, schools or other non-health related companies.
Meet the Mental Health Patient Advocate