About the PAIMI Program

In 1986, Congress authorized the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program in the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act. It is funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The PAIMI program was originally established to provide protection and advocacy services to individuals with significant mental illness or emotional impairment who were or had recently resided in institutional settings. In 2000, Congress expanded the PAIMI program to individuals living in both institutional and community settings, including their own homes, which complements the intent of the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Olmstead v. L.C. (527 U.S. 581).

Under the PAIMI program, protection and advocacy agencies like Disability Rights Texas are authorized to investigate abuse and neglect and rights violations in all public and private facilities and community settings, including hospitals, nursing facilities and group homes – and to oversee the effectiveness of state agencies that license and regulate these programs.

PAIMI program staff also play a critical role in implementing SAMSHA’s Strategic Initiatives including an important role in ensuring that people with mental illness have access to education, housing, employment and other necessary supports and services in the community so they can remain in their communities and be economically self-sufficient. In addition, program staff work to reduce discrimination in employment, and housing. Additionally, PAIMI program staff play an increasingly critical role in juvenile justice and adult correctional facilities where people with mental illness, who are not receiving the supports and services they need in the community, often end up incarcerated.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has also mandated that the P&A System receive investigation reports of deaths and serious injuries related to restraint and seclusion practices in hospitals and psychiatric facilities. Finally, in 2002 and 2003, Congress affirmed that the P&A System has a significant role in addressing the community integration needs of individuals with mental illness.

About the PAIMI Advisory Council

Members of the PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness) Advisory Council reflect the diverse constituency served by Disability Rights Texas (DRTx). We are mandated by the Federal PAIMI Act, the purpose of which is to assist states to establish and operate a protection and advocacy system for individuals with mental illness and protect and advocate for the rights of such individuals through activities to ensure the enforcement of the Constitution, Federal and State statutes. Pursuant to federal statute, the Council “…will advise the system on policies and priorities to be carried out in protecting and advocating for the rights of mentally ill individuals…”

Persons with mental illness, family members and professionals are all represented on the Council. DRTx and the PAIMI Advisory Council are also committed to appointing members representative of Texas’ diverse ethnic and cultural communities and makes efforts to ensure the Council reflects different geographic areas of the state.

In order to be eligible for membership on the Advisory Council, an individual must reside in the State of Texas, cannot be a relative or significant other of a current Advisory Council member, and cannot be an employee of DRTx.

Subject to these limitations, the Advisory Council shall consist of:

  1. At least one (1) attorney
  2. Mental health professionals
  3. Individuals from the public who are knowledgeable about people who are labeled mentally ill, the advocacy needs of persons with mental illness, and have demonstrated a substantial commitment to improving mental health services
  4. Providers of mental health services
  5. Individuals who have received or are receiving mental health services
  6. Individuals who are family members of individuals who have received or are receiving mental health services.
  7. At least one member shall be a primary caregiver for an individual who is current a minor child

Learn More & Apply

Please read Frequently Asked Questions about the PAIMI Council to learn more about the requirements of the position.