S26: ‘I know why the caged bird sings’: Untangling Human Rights in Mental Health.

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By September 17, 2018 No Comments

Authors: Indigo Daya

Year: 2018

Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference


Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: ‘I am calling on states to move away from traditional practices and thinking, and enable a long overdue shift to a rights-based approach…. Mental health policies and services are in crisis - not a crisis of chemical imbalances, but of power imbalances.’ (OHCHR, 2017). Last year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health issued a critical report on human rights breaches in mental health services internationally. His report echoed the narrative of consumers over many decades – yet the mental health sector continues to struggle with human rights. Mental health legislation and policy increasingly speak about promoting and protecting the consumers' human rights, but what does this really mean in practice for consumers, for services, for government? Right now, it is not uncommon for consumers to have around half of their human rights breached while using a mental health service. Are we doing enough, or have we not even begun? This session will use consumer perspective to explore human rights issues in mental health services. This will include understanding human rights breaches, problematic misunderstandings about human rights, rethinking the intersection between human rights and quality and safety, and strategies for a more authentic approach to human rights.

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