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October 10 is the World Mental Health Day.
This year’s theme is “Dignity in Mental Health”.

The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the rights 
of persons with disabilities and on the right to health said 
that persons with disabilities should be treated with dignity.

This means that they should be respected.

There are persons with disabilities who are still forced to live 
in institutions or mental health facilities, and to receive medical 
or psychiatric treatment against their will.

Persons with disabilities should be included in the community 
and receive support.

They have the right to make their own decisions. 
For example, they have the right to decide if they want 
to receive treatment and care or not.


Dignity must prevail, urged the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina  Devandas-Aguilar, and on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day held on October 10.

The World Mental Health Day, supported by the United Nations, takes place every year to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide. This year’s theme is “Dignity in Mental Health”.

Arbitrary detentions, forced institutionalisation and forced treatments are still occurring today. Persons with disabilities are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty and treated without their consent in psychiatric hospitals or other specialized institutions. Victims of discrimination, stigma and marginalization, they face emotional and physical abuse in mental health facilities, with severe consequences for their physical and mental integrity.

The independent experts called governments to ensure that persons with developmental and psychosocial disabilities are treated with dignity and their human rights respected.

Indeed, dignity cannot be compatible with practices of forced treatment. The concept of ‘medical necessity’ behind forced placement and treatment has no scientific evidence. Therefore, new models and practices of community-based services that are respectful of the dignity and integrity of the person need to be elaborated.

Persons with disabilities have the right to have their decisions respected at all times, and their legal capacity should not be removed from them. Their autonomy and self-determination, including their right to choose or refuse treatment and care, should be respected.

The celebration of World Mental Health Day is therefore the occasion to open a dialogue amongst all stakeholders and jointly call for the eradication of non-consensual psychiatry interventions as a step towards the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society.