199987 Mental health as a human right

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:00 PM

Lance Gable, JD, MPH , Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, MI
Persons with mental disabilities deserve equal treatment with regard to human rights. Far too often, they have been subjected to discrimination, stigmatization, and other indignities, including involuntary confinement without fair process, inability to access needed care and treatment, and the erection of social and economic barriers that limit their opportunities. The impact of these persistent human rights violations exacerbates the burden of mental disabilities throughout the population and may preclude persons with mental and intellectual disabilities from successfully seeking and obtaining mental health services.

This presentation will articulate a robust theory of a human right to mental health and illustrate the need for a broader conception of the right to mental health within human rights frameworks. Moreover, applying the human rights model to mental health allows for governance of mental health outcomes on multiple levels, global to local. The presentation will highlight the global extent of mental disabilities, as well as the inadequacy of paternalistic legislation in many countries. It will go on to analyze the myths and misconceptions about mental disabilities grounded in false assumptions about competency, dangerousness, and deinstitutionalization programs. The evolution of a human right to mental health will be discussed in the context of the development of mental health legislation and jurisprudence. The presentation will conclude with recommendations for steps governments should take to provide the conditions necessary for people to attain and maintain mental health.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the relationships between mental health and human rights at multiple levels of government and governance 2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of human rights-based approaches to protecting and promoting mental health 3. Describe recommendations for legal approaches to improve mental health grounded in the human rights model

Keywords: Health Law, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied and researched these issues for many years and written extensively on related topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.