New guidelines from WHO to end human rights abuses in mental health care


Most of the world’s mental health care is still provided in psychiatric hospitals, and human rights abuses and coercive practices remain common. However, providing community-based mental health care in a way that respects human rights and focuses on recovery is proving to be successful and cost-effective, as shown in new guidelines released today by the World Health Organization.

In the new guidelines, it is recommended that mental health care services be provided in the community, and not limited to mental health care, but also include support in matters of daily life, such as facilitating access to housing and linking to education and work services.

These new guidelines issued by the organization, entitled “ Community mental health services: promoting people-centered and rights-based approachesMental health care must be based on a human rights-based approach, as recommended by the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2020-2030 endorsed by the World Health Assembly in May 2021.

A faster transition to improved mental health services is required

“These comprehensive new guidelines make strong inferences for faster transition from mental health services that use coercion and are almost always limited to the use of medication for the management of mental health symptoms,” says Dr. Michael Funk of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, who oversaw the development of the guidelines. to a more holistic approach that takes into account the individual’s specific circumstances and desires and offers a variety of treatment and support approaches.”

Confidence trust Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities In 2006, an increasing number of countries were seeking to reform their mental health care laws, policies and services. However, few countries have put in place the necessary frameworks to keep pace with the sweeping changes required by international human rights standards. Reports from around the world highlight that gross human rights violations and coercive practices remain highly prevalent in countries of all income levels. Examples include forced institutionalization and forced treatment; encircling the patient’s body, girding and anesthesia; unsanitary living conditions; Physical and verbal attacks.

Psychiatric hospitals still account for the largest share of government budgets allocated to mental health

WHO’s latest estimates indicate that governments spend on mental health less than 2% of their budgets for the health sector. In addition, most reported mental health expenditures are allocated to psychiatric hospitals, with the exception of high-income countries, which allocate about 43% of their spending to those hospitals.

The new guidance, which is directed primarily at those responsible for organizing and managing mental health care, details what is needed in areas such as mental health laws, policies and strategies, service delivery, funding, workforce rehabilitation, and civil society engagement to ensure mental health services comply with the Convention. The rights of persons with disabilities.

The guidance includes examples from countries including Brazil, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, Norway, New Zealand and India of community mental health services that have demonstrated good practices with respect to non-coercive practices, inclusion in the community, and respect for an individual’s legal capacity (i.e. the right to make decisions about his or her treatment and life).

Services include crisis support, mental health services provided within public hospitals, outreach services, assisted living approaches, and support from peer groups. Information on the financing of the services provided and the results of their evaluations are included. Comparisons of costs provided indicate that the community services offered produce good results, are preferred by service users, and can be provided at a cost comparable to mainstream mental health services.

“A shift in the provision of mental health services must be accompanied by significant changes in the social sector,” said Gerard Quinn, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. Until that happens, the discrimination that prevents people with mental illness from living a full life will continue. and productive.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here