S28: Promoting Human Rights – A Story of Hope

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By September 4, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Julie Anderson

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Promoting Human Rights - A Story of Hope

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Julie Anderson is Senior Consumer Advisor in the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, Victoria, working in the Chief Mental Health Nurse Team. She has had 20 years experience in community and clinical mental health services. Julie has advised both State and Federal Governments on new mental health Acts and the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Plan. Julie has presented on consumer participation and peer education at conferences both Nationally and Internationally. Julie indicates the best part of her job is the privilege of working with people with mental illness and hearing their stories.

One of the four statutory roles of Victoria’s Office of the Chief Psychiatrist is:
‘to promote the rights of persons receiving mental health services’ (s120, MH Act, Vic, 2014)

The Victorian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist is undertaking a project that explores mechanisms to support the statutory obligation to effectively promote the rights of people with mental illness. The aim of this paper is to present data collected from consumer, nurse, and psychiatrist consultations of promoting human rights and demonstrate the imperative of the promotion of rights on inpatient units. The data will show that variance between the three perspectives is minimal so raises the question; “what are the system barriers to the effective promotion of human rights”.

Promoting the protection of human rights will support empowerment and citizenship for people with mental illness and build healthy communities by reforming mental health services in Victoria to have a rights perspective rather than focus on limiting people rights. The paper will outline the way the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist will use data collected, sector consultations and advisory group processes to analyse and make recommendations to the Chief Psychiatrist to continue to promote the rights f persons receiving mental health services.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: The audience will learn that promoting the protection of human rights is a common objective between consumers nurses and psychiatrists and that legal and system barriers prevent that common objective to be realised.

Learning Objective 2: This topic is relevant to mental health services to gain understanding how to support empowerment and citizenship from the perspective of consumers, nurses and psychiatrists.


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 30 March 2007, 2515 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 May 2008).

Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, 35th Sess, Agenda Item 3, UN Doc A/HRC/35/21 (28 March 2017) https://documents-dds- ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/076/04/PDF/G1707604.pdf?OpenElement

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