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Protecting and Advocating for the Rights of Texans with Disabilities Since 1977
May 2021 Newsletter:
The Pandemic and Your Mental HealthThe
It's Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year we all have a lot to talk about when it comes to this subject. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2020 the number of Americans reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety increased 400 percent over the previous year.

Between the stress of the lock downs, the loneliness of extended isolation, and grief from the loss of loved ones, the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on all of us.

Disability Rights Texas protects and advances the rights of people with a variety of disablities, including those experiencing mental health issues. Read on to learn more about your rights, our work, and resources for taking care of your mental health.
Your Rights While Receiving Treatment and In the Community
Every individual is guaranteed certain rights under the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution and other laws. Some of these rights include:
  • The right to reasonably safe conditions of confinement, including access to adequate medical care and rehabilitation services
  • The right to refuse medication and unwanted medical treatment
  • The right to live in the most integrated setting

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws, you also have rights related to work, housing, and other areas of life. To learn more, visit our institutional rights and civil liberties resource web page and our other resource pages for information.
How We Work to Defend Your Rights
DRTx staff investigates allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with mental health disabilities who reside in group settings. We work to ensure that restraint and seclusion are only used in compliance with laws, regulations and best practices. Additionally, we advocate for the rights of individuals with mental illness who come into contact with law enforcement. Through individual or systemic casework, we represent numerous people with mental illness facing employment, housing, and other types of discrimination.

The members of our PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness) Council include those who have experienced mental illness, family members of people with mental illness, and mental health care professionals. The Council advises DRTx on policies and priorities to be carried out in protecting and advocating for the rights of these individuals.

If you live in Texas and have a passion for advocating for the rights of people with mental illness, consider applying for a position on the Council. We will be taking new applications in July or August - please make a note to check back on our PAIMI Council web page if you are interested.
Taking Care of Your Mental Health
DRTx is optimistic that we are nearing the end of the pandemic and all of the challenges it brought with it. But we must continue to focus on of our mental health as we experience the lingering effects of the past 18 months and face new challenges ahead. The Mayo Clinic offers some helpful strategies for coping with stress during the pandemic including how to know when you need to ask for professional help.
Learn more about our new monthly giving program, Lone Star Champions of Access.
Statewide Intake Line:

Sign Language Video Intake Line:

Purple Video Intake Line:

If you can't call during our regular intake hours which are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 p.m. or can't get through due to high call volume, you can complete our online intake form available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit www.DRTx.org for more information.