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The Global Mental Health Movement and Us, the Global North Divide and Foucault

conversation1Jagannath Lamichhane, Board Member of WNUSP introduced the debate of the relationship of of the Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH) and the WNUSP and his role as newly appointed leader for MGMH.

Bhargavi Davar from India, Tina Minkowitz the international representative of WNUSP, Annie Robb from South Africa, Daniel Iga from Uganda and Mari Yammomoto Board Member from Japan responded and engaged in this conversation.  See full conversation here: WNUSP Conversation from the Margins Feb 2014

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Peter Lehmann writes about Forced Psychiatry in Germany

peter lehman

The publication, can be downloaded here: Forced Psychiatry in Germany

Uploaded on Jan 15, 2008

Peter Lehmann was a founding member of the group that developed Runaway House, Berlin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egXLL_P38Mg “Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry” is the latest book from Peter Lehmann Publishing (Berlin), a Publishing House orientated toward the interests of (ex-)users and survivors of psychiatry.

Links: http://www.peter-lehmann-publishing.combook:
“Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry”
Peter Stastny / Peter Lehmann (Eds.)

http://www.weglaufhaus.de/literature/ma/runaway



 
           
 
           
        

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News From India

News from India 14012014Internationally there is interest in sharing news and discussions on the new proposed disability legislations in India. Both the ‘Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill’ (RPD Bill) as well as the ‘Mental Health Care Bill’ (MHC Bill). The CAMH (organization representing users and survivors in India) position on these two disability legislations, both of which have been cleared by the Indian Cabinet can be read by following the link below: http://camhjournal.com/2014/01/13/present-position-of-the-center-for-advocacy-in-mental-health-pune-on-the-new-proposed-disability-legislations/

 The MHC Bill was indeed presented before the Parliament, but due to critiques emanating from different directions, including from us, a standing Committee to review this law was constituted, which in its turn, made a strong critical report. It has gone back to the drafting table. The RPD Bill was cleared by the Cabinet but did not make it to the Parliament this winter session, as was eagerly expected by the disability movement. However, the Parliament was adjourned abruptly leaving the sector very disappointed.

 

Review and Analysis of UN Prohibition of Psychiatric Commitment

tminkowitzTina Minkowitz, WNUSP International Representative has published an article, UN Prohibition of Psychiatric Committment: Review and Analysis that is very important for all our advocacy. It is important that we use these standards in our advocacy and encourage governments and their structures to adhere to them. You can read full the article by accessing the this link: http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/10/un-leaves-doubt-end-mental-health-detention/

The following extract from the article demonstrates some of the important standards established. Concluding Observations of the CRPD Committee were adopted in 2013 on the three countries under review, El Salvador, Austria and Australia .

Take note that all take the resoundingly clear position that psychiatric detention is prohibited under Article 14. You can read them in full on the UN website.

In particular:

  • Legislation that allows detention in a psychiatric facility “when [a person has] a psychosocial disability and it is forecast that they might endanger themselves or other persons” is in conflict with Article 14.  (Austria CO, para 29)
  • Such legislation falls within Article 14′s prohibition of deprivation of liberty based on an actual or perceived disability.  (Austria CO, para 29)
  • The country should “take all necessary legislative, administrative and judicial measures to ensure that no one is deprived against their will in any kind of mental health facility.”  (Austria CO, para 30)
  • The country should repeal “legal provisions that authorize commitment of individuals to detention in mental health services, or the impositin of compulsory treatment either in institutions or in the community via Community Treatment Orders (CTOs).”  (Australia CO, para 34)
  • The country should “abolish norms that authorize deprivation of liberty based on disability, which attribute to disability the possibility of causing harm for the person or others, or that ascribe to it the need for care and treatment, and should establish suitable procedures so that health services, including mental health, proceed only after the free and informed consent of the person concerned.”  (El Salvador CO, para 32)

There is still more good news.  Article 14 of the CRPD has a second paragraph that guarantees equal treatment to persons with disabilities who are deprived of their liberty by any process to which they remain subject as members of the public (such as criminal arrest and detention).  There has been controversy as to whether this provision prohibits people from being committed to psychiatric institutions as a result of criminal proceedings (e.g., when the person is found not guilty by reason of insanity or is considered unfit to stand trial).  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in its Study on legal measures linked above, gave early support to our view that the insanity defense itself is inconsistent with the CRPD guarantee of equal legal capacity in another provision of the treaty, Article 12.  The issues raised under Article 14 in the criminal context, in particular the prohibition of criminal or forensic psychiatric commitment, are now beginning to be addressed by the Committee and also by the Special Rapporteur on Torture.  I will try to address this in more detail in a later blog, but for now will point to additional highlights from September’s Concluding Observations, and from the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture:

  • The country was urged “to ensure that persons with psychosocial disabilities are ensured equal substantive and procedural guarantees as others in the context of criminal proceedings and in particular to ensure that no diversion programs are implemented that transfer individuals to mental health commitment regimes or that require the individual to participate in mental health services rather than providing such services on the basis of the individual’s free and informed consent.”  (Australia CO, para 29)
  • It was further urged “to ensure that all persons with disabilities who are accused of crimes and are currently detained in jails and institutions without a trial are promptly allowed to defend themselves against criminal charges and are provided with required support and accommodation to facilitate their effective participation.”  (Australia CO, para 30)
  • “Rules 82 and 83 [which provide for forensic psychiatric commitment and other segregation of “insane and mentally abnormal prisoners”] should be replaced with a provision that applies to all persons with disabilities. Such a provision should state explicitly that inmates with disabilities are entitled to be eligible for all programmes and services available to others, including voluntary engagement in activities and community release programmes, and to be housed in the general prison population on an equal basis with others without discrimination. It should also provide a clear articulation of certain rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: the duty to provide reasonable accommodation (arts. 5 and 14); the duty to work towards creating an accessible environment (art. 9); the duty to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to all amenities without having to rely on assistance from fellow inmates (e.g., arts. 5, 20 and 28); the duty to respect the choices of persons with disabilities and to establish effective mechanisms to support decision-making in order to enable people with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities to exercise their legal capacity on an equal basis with others (see arts. 12 and 13).” (Special Rapporteur on Torture SMR report, para 72)

And lastly, with regard to the Committee’s stance against forced psychiatric drugging and other coercive practices, they are continuing to be quite firm, addressing forced psychiatry as a form of torture and ill-treatment as well as a violation of the right to free and informed consent in health care, the right to integrity of the person, and the right to legal capacity.  (See El Salvador CO paras 28, 33, 37 and 52; Austria CO para 28; Australia CO paras 25, 35, 36.)  This reaffirms the bottom line as expressed by the Special Rapporteur on Torture earlier this year (see also clarifying statement), when he called on all countries to:

“Impose an absolute ban on all forced and non-consensual medical interventions against persons with disabilities, including the non-consensual administration of psychosurgery, electroshock and mind-altering drugs such as neuroleptics, the use of restraint and solitary confinement, for both long- and short- term application.”

Gabor Gombos written submission to India Mental Health Care Bill 2013 published!

SAM_0182India is scheduled to pass the Mental Health Care Bill. A Standing Committee has been set up to receive responses from communities and ‘all stakeholders’. From Bapu Trust and other associated organisations, submissions were made challenging the de-criminalisation of suicide and the overall highly coercive nature of the MHC Bill. 

 

Gabor Gombos, who has had and continues to have more than a passing interest in the Indian disability discourse, has written to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.This has been warmly been received by Bapu Trust and allies and has been submitted today to the Standing Committee on the Mental Health Care Bill. Bhargavi Davar of Bapu Trust comments: “I am privileged to share this with this group.I enjoyed the precision of the presentation, and the insights that Gabor has brought to our support as a former UNCRPD committee member.Thanks, Gabor! Warmest regards, and ever grateful”

Draft General comment on Article 12 of the Convention Released

The draft General Comment on legal capacity has been released by the CRPD Committee. Also the Draft General Comment on Article 9 of the Convention-Accessibility

The Committee invites DPOs and persons with disabilities, States Parties, NHRIs, independent monitoring bodies under Article 33(2) of the CRPD, NGOs, research institutions and academics to submit comments to the draft General Comments in writing in English, Spanish or French by 31 January 2014 to crpd@ohchr.org.

working group gaborWe congratulate WNUSP Board member, Gabor Gombos, on his impact as Chair of the Working Group of the CRPD Committee on this issue while most of the substantive work was being done. Gabor comment to members: “A draft General Comment can be publicized only with a consensus from the entire Committee. Considering the pieces on liberty and torture this means a lot. We may want to plan for a well organised commentary action on this to ensure that the draft, with the further necessary clarifications, becomes a General Comment.” Also Gabor mentions: ” I also think we should pay attention to the accessibility draft as well. There is nothing there on our issues, while the draft on legal capacity makes a clear link.

Petition for the Decriminalization of Suicide

india-flagDirector of Center for Advocacy in Mental Health in India and also a member of World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, Bhargavi Davar is circulating a draft petition on the Decriminalisation of suicide in the national Indian Mental Health Care Bill. It is written by Amba Salelkar of Inclusive Planet.  This petition will be submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare.

The Mental Health Care Bill of 2012 has set up a controversy on various topics, including, Advance Directive, Informed Consent, Involuntary admission and finally, the decriminalization of the attempt to commit suicide. This petition addresses the issue of decriminalization of suicide.

If you wish to endorse the petition, please write to Bhargavi at bapu.crpdadvocacy@gmail.com and let her know if you or your organization wishes to endorse this petition. It will be very encouraging and useful for our brothers and sisters in India if their  advocacy is supported.