Authors: Dainius Pūras
Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide
Subject: Global Mental Health and Human Rights – Status quo and the way ahead
Type of resource: Video
The presentation will be based on the experience of serving 6 years (2014-2020) as a UN special rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health.
There is agreement nowadays that mental health is a new priority and that more investments should be allocated to mental health services. However, there is no agreement among stakeholders on how to invest and how not to invest in mental healthcare.
After 40 years of dominance of the biomedical paradigm, there is an increasing understanding that the existing status quo within mental health systems globally has failed to keep bold promises. Even with new investments, the vicious cycle of discrimination, coercion, exclusion and over-medicalization continues to be reinforced globally, including in high-income countries.
It is high time that painful lessons from the past of psychiatry and mental health care were learnt and services that fully embrace human rights based approach were developed. Power asymmetries need to be seriously addressed, as well as overuse of biomedical interventions and biased use of knowledge.
During recent years many new documents have been drafted (such as four UN Human Rights Council Resolutions on mental health and human rights and WHO Guidance on community mental health services) urging governments to abandon legacy of discriminatory laws and practices and to prioritize investments in rights based non-coercive practices. The presentation will elaborate on opportunities and challenges on the way to this very much needed change.