UN Adopts New Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights

Dear colleagues,

Today, 1 July 2016, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights (attached), led by Portugal and Brazil and cosponsored by 61 countries, with more countries still joining.

The resolution highlights:

(i) that “persons with mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities, in particular persons using mental health services, may be subject to, inter alia, widespread discrimination, stigma, prejudice, violence, social exclusion and segregation, unlawful or arbitrary institutionalization, over-medicalization and treatment practices that fail to respect their autonomy, will and preferences” and

(ii) “the need for States to take active steps to fully integrate a human rights perspective into mental health and community services, particularly with a view to eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination within that context, and to promote the right of everyone to full inclusion and effective participation in society”

This resolution provides additional impetus to address human rights in mental health and also signals a commitment by countries to achieve this.

In the next weeks we will send you an update on the actions that WHO is taking through its QualityRights initiative, along with information and suggestions about how you can join our efforts to improve quality of care and respect for human rights in mental health services around the world.

Best wishes

Michelle Funk Coordinator, Mental Health Policy and Service Development (MHP)
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse,

World Health Organization Switzerland

WHO MiNDbank: A database providing national and international resources for developing human-rights oriented policies, laws, strategies, and service standards for mental health, substance abuse, disability, general health and development www.who.int/mental_health/mindbank

WHO QualityRights: Helping countries to create services and supports that promote recovery, empowerment and human rights for people with psychosocial disabilities http://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/quality_rights/en/index.html

HRC 32 - Mental Health and Human Rights - adopted - 01.07.2016