Mental health and the rights of persons experiencing psychosocial disabilities has been a neglected area in international development.
Psychosocial disabilities are common within all societies. However persons with psychosocial disabilities often face significant discrimination and stigma and are sometimes not well represented in Disabled Peoples Organisations.
Mental health cannot be considered in isolation from other areas of development, such as education, employment, emergency responses and human rights capacity building.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) requires that States parties ensure that persons with disabilities have access to adequate health (
Article 25) and rehabilitative services (Article 26), which includes ensuring the right of people with psychosocial disabilities to access mainstream health services, and providing appropriate mental health services.
The UNCRPD also provides the right to personal security and freedom from inhumane treatment (Articles 14 and 15). However persons with psychosocial disabilities can face human rights violations in areas such as decision-making and legal capacity. Many also face violation of their rights to freedom from arbitrary detention and freedom from forced medical treatments.
Trauma from disasters, violence and conflict, can increase the incidence of psychosocial disabilities, necessitating appropriate measures in humanitarian assistance and post disaster responses.
The World Health Organization and partners have a focus on addressing access to quality mental health services for all.
Selected resources in this section include guidance documents, research findings, and network websites regarding inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities in development.
See also: Participation of Persons with Disabilities, Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction, Law and Justice