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People with mental illness have the same rights as any citizen. However, additional protections through state and federal legislation are in place due to the abuse, neglect, exploitation, and discrimination that individuals receiving mental health services regularly face.

Disability Rights Ohio and the Disability Rights Ohio PAIMI Advisory Council believe that self-advocacy should be the first avenue of recourse to correct rights violations. However, stigma and prejudice are so pervasive that self-advocacy efforts are often unsuccessful. Attempts made by individuals impacted by mental illness to promote change or redress harm too often get ignored or minimized.

Disability Rights Ohio believes that advocacy means to plead the cause of another, as defined by that individual, because that person is not often listen to and most importantly is the expert in their own life. Disability Rights Ohio advocacy efforts are defined and directed by the person. This philosophy of intersectional advocacy also drives the Disability Rights Ohio PAIMI Advisory Council's mission, composition, and outreach. Individuals with lived life experience comprise the majority of the PAIMI Advisory Council's membership. All potential candidates go through an interview process that includes their ability to share their individual commitment to rights education, rights protection, diversity, equity, and inclusion for individuals receiving mental health services. The PAIMI Advisory Council is committed to growth and change, both in its advisory capacity to Disability Rights Ohio and in its internal governing process

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