Mental and Emotional Health


According to the DPC Education Center, if you do not have a healthy mental state, it will be hard for you to live your life to the fullest extent. In the 2012 DC Youth Risk Behavior survey, 31% of high school females and 19% of males “felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities.”

Your Rights

Mental and Emotional Health  

  • You have the right to consent for mental health services. A provider may deliver outpatient mental health services and mental health supports other than medication to a minor who is voluntarily seeking such services without parental or guardian consent; however, services provided without parental consent are limited to 90 days. DC Code § 7-1231.14
  • You have the right to not release your records to your parent or legal guardian. When a client is under the age of 18, but beyond the age of 14, disclosures which require authorization may only be authorized by the joint written authorization of the client and the client’s parent or legal guardian. D.C. Code § 17.1202.05
  • You have the right to access to mental health services and mental health supports free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, language, culture, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income and place of residence. D.C. Code § 7-1231.04
  • You have the right to freedom to engage in or abstain from the practice of religion, and freedom from harassment aimed at encouraging the consumer to engage in the religious practices of the provider or other consumers. D.C. Code § 7-1231.04
  • Beginning at least one year before a consumer transitions into the system of care for adults, or sooner if required under applicable law such as IDEA, a youth’s Individual Place of Care shall be revised to include a statement regarding the needed transition services for the youth, including, if appropriate, a statement of the interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages with other services and support. DC Code § 7-1231.05

These rights were retrieved from: Mental Health Consumers’ Rights Protection Act of 2001

What is mental and emotional health?

The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

Things you should know about mental and emotional health:

If you think you are experiencing any kind of mental or emotional health matter, you should seek help now. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. –U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Potential Early Warning Signs

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worries or scared
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

For more about signs and symptoms, please visit:

Here’s where you should go, if you would like to speak with someone or get help now:

  • You can call The Access HelpLine at 1(888)7WE-HELP or 1-888-793-4357. This hotline is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone line staffed by behavioral health professionals who can refer a caller to immediate help or ongoing care.
  • You can call the DC Suicide Hotline at 800-SUICIDE/800-784-2433
  • You can call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-TALK/800-273-8255
  • If you need assistance in Spanish, you can call La Clinica del Pueblo at 202-462-4788
  • You can call Crisis and Family Stress 24 hours/day at 202-561-7000         

If you want to get involved in our fight against sexual assault and harassment:

Contact the Mayor and City Council

Contact the Department of Health

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