The Discriminatory Standards of Constructing ‘Patienthood’ of the ‘Mentally Ill’ within Public Health by Bhargavi Davar (Repost) November, 2022

This article was published in the Medico Friends Circle Bulletin and is being reproduced in good faith from MFC Bulletin (363-364/ Jan-Feb 2015).

It is being reposted here, because years of critical psychiatry writings has not changed the mental health system nor brought it any closer to the universal development values, which binds all governments and constituencies. No reasonable policy maker, academic, development practitioner would so frontally deny development linked rights and entitlements to its citizenry. Yet, these are denied to those damned with a ‘finding of mental disorder’.

This post, written in 2015, still stands true on all the points it covers. There have been feeble attempts at changing the systems but the psychiatric lobby, WHO, Global mental health and allied movements are still on the same path, sugar coating newer materials with supposedly a ‘human rights discourse’ while retaining coercion and custody at the core of their new ‘instruments’. The psychiatrization and medicalizing of distress and our human responses to a worldwide COVID pandemic has again ushered the warnings of a ‘mental health epidemic’ and discussions around ‘burden of care’. There have been public announcements of withdrawing older WHO resources (2005) that had recommended adopting mental health laws as a sign of modernity for nations with respect to their mental health policies. These resources led to mushrooming of newer and ‘modern’ asylum like institutions and robbed us of our very personhood by pushing for new legal incapacity and discriminatory laws. These power lobbies and global actors are now attempting to co-opt and modify the language and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to provide new CRPD compliant ‘robes’ to the decades old notion of doing things in ‘our best interests’. The recently proposed WHO & OHCHR draft guidelines on mental health, human rights and legislations is a glaring example of the same and we, TCI, as a global representative voice of persons with psychosocial disabilities have responded and called out for immediate withdrawal of this guidance document.  Click below to read the post.

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