Sunday, November 16, 2014

Global human rights violations in mental health

Following up my previous post about global mental health, I understand the motivation of #FundaMentalSDG to include mental health as one of the UN sustainable development goals post-2015 (see their blog post). I don't think we should look away from mentally ill people being neglected and abused, including being "tied to beds, kept in isolation in psychiatric institutions, being chained and caged in small cells, and being physically abused by ‘traditional’ healing practices" (see Guardian documentary).

However, I worry about saying that mental illness affects 1 in 4 in the world, as though it is almost normal. And, by saying that mental illness is treatable, implying that the simple answer is psychotropic medication. Management of mental illness may not just be a problem in low and middle income countries. The madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre may not be that much different from the practice of pasung in Indonesia (see ABC News item on documentary "Breaking the chains"). The commitment of the Indonesian government to eradicate the practice is to be welcomed. Further measures need to be taken to protect the human rights of the mentally ill worldwide.


sandgroperdada said...

Hi Duncan
Always a pleasure to read your little nuggets of insight.
However, it is not enough to just preach to the converted.
The critical psychiatry weblist has gone rather silent over the last few months, do you know the reason?
Yesterday, I was hearing David Cameron's press secretary talk on Australian radio. He reported one of his government's priorities should be to make mental health treatment accessible to all who needed it, apparently three-fourth of the people who needed mental health treatment in GB currently were not being able to access it. I was reminded of Ingleby's opening lines "Mental illness, we are told, is a major problem of our time." This basic fallacy of case finding hasn't changed, it is increasing.
I think the best way to further our cause is to tag on to the recovery movement and start talking about the pernicious effect of risk management on contemporary psychiatry.
We need the paradigm shift in psychiatry, otherwise we will continue to worship 'false gods'. Amit Banerjee

Unknown said...

Unfortunately I do not know English. Forced to use an interpreter. This is probably why I have little understanding.
On this page: I posted a few translated texts. But no one responded. Not commented on. Why exactly? I do not understand. I think it is very important to work together. Lonely do not hear. Us hear a lot more if we speak in unison. Unless someone does not agree with that?