Mental health and human rights: Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

By Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 2017           [Download Resource]


‘The present report, mandated by the Human Rights Council in resolution 32/18, identifies some of the major challenges faced by users of mental health services, persons with mental health conditions and persons with psychosocial disabilities. These include stigma and discrimination, violations of economic, social and other rights and the denial of autonomy and legal capacity.

In the report, the High Commissioner recommends a number of policy shifts, which would support the full realization of the human rights of those populations, such as the systematic inclusion of human rights in policy and the recognition of the individual’s autonomy, agency and dignity. Such changes cover measures to improve the quality of mental health service delivery, to put an end to involuntary treatment and institutionalization and to create a legal and policy environment that is conducive to the realization of the human rights of persons with mental health conditions and psychosocial disabilities’


Key Content Areas:

  • The right to health framework
  • Challenges with implications for human rights in mental health
  • The human rights-based approach to disability in the context of mental health
  • Charting the way forward


Mental health is not merely a health or medical concern, it is very much a matter of human rights, dignity and social justice     …      Key to this is recognizing that the individuals concerned, including children, have agency, self-determination and rights, which should be protected and respected. 
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