New York State Mental Hygiene Legal Services

The MHLS provides people living in institutions for the mentally disabled with legal representation, advice and support on residence, discharge, care and treatment. Facilities can be governmental, municipal, voluntary or private, and can be community or institutional. MHLS has full access to records of people with mental disabilities in New York State. We treat all customer information confidentially. The MHLS represents the mentally handicapped in civil liability proceedings and other matters. Our employees offer various alternatives and solutions to represent the wishes and interests of a client. We may take legal action on behalf of our clients. The MHLS investigates complaints from clients, their relatives and friends about care and treatment. The MHLS represents persons who are subject to court-ordered outpatient treatment. MHLS welcomes requests for assistance or information from clients, their family or friends who contact MHLS by phone, letter or personal visit.

MHLS will refer a person to the appropriate authority if a request does not fall within our jurisdiction. For example, we do not represent individuals in matters relating to wills, divorces or claims for damages against others. The MHLS also represents people who need a guardian if a court allows it, regardless of where they live.

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