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Protection & Advocacy For Individuals With Mental Illness

The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program was established by Congress in 1986. The purpose of PAIMI is:

  • To protect and advocate the rights of persons with mental illness
  • To investigate reports of abuse and neglect of persons with mental illness
  • To maintain and operate a protection and advocacy system in the District of Columbia for persons with mental illness

  • People We Serve People We Serve

  • The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness staff serves individuals who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Persons who have a significant mental illness or emotional impairment as determined by a mental health professional
  • Are or were patients, residents, or clients of facilities providing 24-hour mental health care and treatment
  • Who, during his or her stay at the facility or within 90 days of discharge, request help for problems related to care and/or treatment

  • PAIMI Priorities

  • The ULS-PAIMI staff is not authorized or able to represent everyone. Requests for assistance are assessed on a case-by-case basis using the following priorities:

  • Allegations of abuse and neglect
  • Rights protection issues
  • Information and referral

  • Facilities Covered

  • Private psychiatric hospitals
  • Foster care homes
  • Specialized foster care
  • Mental health group homes
  • Personal care homes
  • Nursing homes

  • Other PAIMI Services

  • Provide public information and education about the rights of persons with mental illness
  • Monitor private and public psychiatric hospitals and facilities in the District of Columbia
  • Identify problems in the mental health services system and work to provide solutions through advocacy

  • Know Your Rights!

    As an individual, you have the:
  • Right to appropriate treatment
  • Right to placement in the least restrictive environment
  • Right to participate in your own mental health program
  • Right to refuse treatment
  • Right to freedom from inappropriate restraint or seclusion
  • Right to a safe, healthful, and human environment in facilities
  • Right to confidentiality
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to appeal commitments
  • Right to assert grievances
  • Right to due process of law
  • Right to be free from physical, sexual, or verbal abuse

  • How To Contact ULS-PAIMI

  • To request ULS-PAIMI assistance for yourself or someone you know, call (202) 547-0198 or 1-877-221-4638, or e-mail us at . The office is located at 220 I Street, N.E., Suite 130, Washington, D.C. 20002.


  • ULS-PAIMI makes every effort to provide effective rights-related advocacy for meritorious cases. However, if any individual is not satisfied with ULS-PAIMI's actions, he or she has the right to bring a complaint to the Executive Director of ULS. A copy of the agency's greivance policy is available. This policy tells what must be done to file a complaint.

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