Human Rights Model Promoted in New Guidance
There is new guidance for mental health clinics published at the World Health Organization that represents a paradigm shift from a biomedical model to a human rights model. It’s called “Guidance on Community Mental Health Services: Promoting Person-Centred and Rights-Based Approaches.”
MadinAmerica.org just published an interview with Michelle Funk (photo above), a lead in articulating this new guidance for WHO. What follows below are excerpts from that interview.
Michelle is the Unit Head of the Policy, Law, and Human Rights at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use at the World Health Organization. She has created and leads the WHO Quality Rights Initiative that aims to assess and improve human rights standards in existing services and advance the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The new guidance builds on the initial work of Darius Puras, a former special reporter who served at the UN on the right to health.
What The Human Rights Model Includes
As mentioned the basis of the new WHO Community Mental Health Service Guidance is a shift to a human rights model including the services showcased and the recommendations made.
All of the services are united by several features, and these include:
- 1) The right to legal capacity, in other words, the right to make decisions on all aspects of one’s life.
- 2) The freedom from coercive practices such as forced treatment, seclusion, and restraint.
- 3) Participation, meaning that people with lived experience are running services or have a key role in deciding how are services designed and run.
- 4) Community inclusion, which refers to the support that people are given to access social welfare services and benefits, housing, employment, and educational opportunities, will ultimately allow people to live and be included in the community.
This new human rights model and paradigm permeates everything Funk and her team are promoting in this new Guidance on community mental health services.
Highlighting Good Practices From Around the World
Funk says: The WHO Guidance is the World Health Organization’s new guidance for countries on how to put in place person-centered and rights-based community mental health services. Within this Guidance, we highlight good practice services from around the world that align with key human rights criteria, grounded in the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), including respect for legal capacity, non-coercive practices, participation, and community inclusion.
This Guidance is also providing detailed information on how each of the services explicitly implements these CRPD criteria in the setup and running of the service. I’d like to say that this Guidance is the first of its kind, so it’s going to be extremely important, and it has been many years in the making as well.
In terms of process, it has involved many months of intensive research and many rounds of in-depth consultations with all key stakeholder groups and experts in countries throughout the world.
That includes research and consultations about all the different types of services that are out there and being run in different countries, as well as consultations for reviewing and commenting on drafts and helping with the revisions of the different drafts into what we have today in terms of the final technical guidance.
Human Rights Approach and Recovery Approach
It is important to combine the frameworks because the human rights approach and the recovery approach share common values and principles.
Both these approaches promote key rights such as equality, nondiscrimination, legal capacity, informed consent, and community inclusion. The main difference, though, between the human rights and recovery-based approaches is that the human rights approach imposes obligations on countries to promote these rights.
More specifically, why it is important to put these frameworks together, which is the key, is that it is important to show their alignment with each other—to bring a more powerful voice to advocate and implement change.
The Recovery Framework has its own constituency that may not understand the language of human rights and, vice versa, the human rights constituency may not understand the language of recovery. Incorporating both frameworks and showing how they align can bring these important groups or constituencies together on common grounds and for a common purpose.
The complete original article from which these excerpts were taken was published on June 12, 2021. It was written by Ana Florence, PhD: https://www.madinamerica.com/2021/06/who-and-the-sea-change-in-mental-health-interview-with-michelle-funk/?mc_cid=f566bb8744&mc_eid=8926b8298b
IMHU is Aligned!
IMHU highlights “Residential Treatment and Collaborative Care” in a presentation that is aligned with the guidance described above. Click HERE for more information. Learn more about the “New Psychiatry” that is also aligned with the above guidance HERE.