Mental Health Advocacy

DRM provides advocacy services to individuals with mental illness under the federal PAIMI program.  The federal PAIMI statute and regulations provides that the rights of individuals with mental illness are to be protected through activities that ensure the enforcement of their rights under the Constitution and Federal and State statutes, to investigate instances of abuse and neglect and to engage in outreach and monitoring activities. These laws grants the DRM authority to provide these services to individuals in the community and in institutional settings. 

Additionally, DRM has contracts to provides full time on site mental health advocacy services at three inpatient psychiatric hospitals: Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center and Acadia Hospital located in Bangor and  Riverview Psychiatric Center located in Augusta.

 DRM's Recent Work

DRM Enforces Right to Telephone Access

DRM received a complaint from an individual who was not able to make private telephone calls while staying at a mental health community crisis unit.  The individual wanted to be able to talk with her various medical providers without the staff hearing her private conversations. DRM contacted the mental health agency that operated the crisis residences and they agreed to purchase a cordless telephone so that residents in the future would be able to make private telephone calls.  The agency also agreed to provide training to staff to ensure that all residents were made aware of their right to be able to make private telephone calls.

DRM Advocates for Individual to Return Home

A 35 year old man with mental illness was living in a licensed mental health community residence.  The man went to the emergency room and was later transferred to a psychiatric hospital.  Staff at the community residence informed the man that he was being discharged from his home and could not return to the residence.  He had no other place to go and was facing the possibility of an extended long term hospitalization.  DRM staff intervened and educated the staff at the residence on the legal rights he possessed regarding his housing.  After being educated on his rights, the staff then agreed to have the man discharged back to his home at the residence. 


Maine’s Criminal Responsibility Law: How does it affect me?

Rights of Persons Living in Residential Facilities that Provide Mental Health Treatment

The AMHI Consent Decree - A Primer

This document provides an overview of the AMHI Consent Decree.  It was developed by Kevin Voyvodich, managing attorney, for the Joint Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

Peer Recovery Training Manual

This manual provides a menu of program options that support efforts to promote recovery, and improve patient experience and outcomes.

Suicide & Depression Awareness for Students

The individuals at developed this resource guide to help students better understand suicide and depression, how to recognize warning signs in themselves or their peers, and what they can do to intervene.

Dr. Steve Schlozman, associate director of The Clay Center for young Healthy Minds and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and A. Michele Tedder, founder and CEO of Joy for Life -- were instrumental in the creation of this guide, providing insight for what depression is and the effects of depression, as well as advice for those experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts. Key elements of the guide include:

- An in-depth Q&A with psychiatry expert, Dr. Schlozman
- A comprehensive overview of the connection between mental health, depression and suicide
- Warning signs of suicide and advice for students who are experiencing or know someone who is displaying these signs
- Help and resources for students struggling with depression

Involuntary Hospitalization & Outpatient Services Laws

A Basic Guide to Laws Covering Involuntary Admission to Psychiatric Hospitals and to Outpatient Services

This manual is designed as a simple guide through the involuntary hospitalization process and the involuntary outpatient services laws.

The involuntary hospitalization process can also lead to an order for involuntary treatment. A guide to this process is included in the section on involuntary hospitalization. Involuntary treatment is generally treatment with medications.

This manual also includes a guide on the process whereby outpatient services may be ordered involuntarily. These services are called the “Progressive Treatment Program”. Procedures dealing with this program are in a separate section in this manual.

This manual is not a substitute for legal advice. For specific questions or assistance with particular issues, please contact Disability Rights Maine.

Advance Health Care Directives for Planning Mental Health Care

Advance directives have been used in the field of general health care for several years.They were originally called “living wills”. They are now available to direct mental health care as well.Advance directives for mental health care are fairly new.

This manual is designed to help you:

  • Learn more about an advance directive for mental health care.
  • Decide whether you want one.
  • Develop an advance directive for mental health care.
  • Know what questions to ask if you have someone help you write one.
  • Use your advance directive for mental health care.
  • Know about some problems in using one.

This manual is not a substitute for legal advice. For specific questions or assistance with particular issues, please contact Disability Rights Maine.

A Basic Guide to Self-Advocacy

This manual is intended to provide a simple yet informative overview of how to be a self-advocate. This manual is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have specific questions or need assistance with a particular issue, please contact Disability Rights Maine.

 Trainings & Upcoming Events


 Systemic Work

DRM Offers Trainings to Charlotte White Center Staff

DRM attorneys Kevin Voyvodich and Mark Joyce presented a rights training to staff of the Charlotte White Center.  Staff included community case managers and staff of various residential settings that provide services to individuals with mental illness and traumatic brain injuries.  Attorney Voyvodich presented to Charlotte White’s Bangor area staff on February 8 and Attorney Joyce presented to Dover-Foxcroft area staff on February 12.

DRM Presents at Statewide CCSM Event

DRM attorneys Bernadette O’Donnell, Kevin Voyvodich and Mark Joyce presented at the Consumer Council System of Maine’s Statewide meeting held on August 28, 2015 in Augusta. They presented on issues relating to access to mental health treatment in the community and unmet needs.