World needs “revolution” in mental health care – UN rights expert

This news item comes from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. It begins:

“GENEVA (6 June 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, has called for a sea change in mental health care around the world, urging States and psychiatrists to act with courage to reform a crisis-hit system built on outdated attitudes.

‘We need little short of a revolution in mental health care to end decades of neglect, abuse and violence,’ Mr. Pūras said after presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

‘Mental health is grossly neglected within health systems around the world.  Where mental health systems exist, they are segregated from other healthcare and based on outdated practices that violate human rights.

‘I am calling on States to move away from traditional practices and thinking, and enable a long overdue shift to a rights-based approach. The status quo is simply unacceptable.’

He added: ‘Mental health policies and services are in crisis – not a crisis of chemical imbalances, but of power imbalances. We need bold political commitments, urgent policy responses and immediate remedial action.’

Mr. Pūras said there was a ‘grossly unmet’ need for rights-based care and support. Progress was being hindered by huge power imbalances in the systems currently used in policymaking, service provision, medical education and research.  Other major obstacles included the dominance of the biomedical model, with its overdependence on medication, and the ‘biased’ use of evidence, which was contaminating knowledge about mental health.

‘There is now unequivocal evidence of the failures of a system that relies too heavily on the biomedical model of mental health services, including the front-line and excessive use of psychotropic medicines, and yet these models persist,’ Mr. Pūras said.

‘This pattern occurs in countries across the national income spectrum.  It represents a failure to integrate evidence and the voices of those most affected into policy, and a failure to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health’ …”

You can read more from here.

Rate this post

Any reply would be very welcome


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

Your email address will not be passed to any other organisation. It will only be used to send you new posts made on this website.