What is the Mental Health Ombudsman?

The Mental Health Ombudsman represents the interests of individuals with regard to the need for public mental health services.

Origin of the term “Ombudsman”

The term ombudsman (om-budz-man) originated in Sweden and dates back to 1809 when the Swedish Parliament appointed an Ombudsman to resolve problems in the absence of the king.  Ombudsman means grievance handler, the people’s representative or delegate.  This concept became a popular method for resolving problems and quickly spread to other countries.  In the United States and Canada, Ombuds Offices have been created to assist citizens, consumers, children, students and employees who wish to address their concerns confidentially.  The Ombudsman function has been utilized in state and federal agencies, prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, child protective services, industry and higher education colleges and universities.