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11 April 2014

Substandard clinical practice as a human rights abuse

This is the last in my blog trio about Butabika hospital, Uganda’s premier psychiatric facility, which I visited last Thursday (3 April 2014). The first blog post focused on lawlessness and the second on women. This blog post focuses on clinical practice and human rights.
9 April 2014

Degradation of women in Uganda’s main psychiatric hospital

This is 2 out of a 3 part series about Butabika hospital, Uganda’s premier psychiatric facility, which I visited on 3 April 2014. The first post laid out how people are admitted and forcibly treated outside the ambit of a law, and how therefore people are unlawfully detained. The most memorable thing about the visit was the litany of gender-based discrimination which I saw, and that’s what I want to talk about in this blog post. On Friday I’ll upload a blog post about clinical care.
7 April 2014

Uganda’s mental health system and the rule of no law

This is No. 1 in a trio of OliverTalks posts about Butabika hospital, Uganda’s premier psychiatric facility, which Oliver visited with colleagues last Thursday. It lays out how people are admitted and forcibly treated outside the ambit of a law, and how therefore people are unlawfully detained.
4 April 2014

Democracy? Not for people with mental disabilities

This Sunday, over 55,000 Hungarian citizens living in Hungary will not be allowed to choose their leaders at the national elections. They’re not criminals, they’re not migrants and they’re not children. It is like not counting the votes of the entire population of Szombathely.
25 March 2014

World psychiatry and accountability for human rights violations

This is the third part of my series on torture in healthcare where I argue that the psychiatric community must be prepared to recognise human rights abuses among its professionals and propose the use of restorative justice principles to deal with the problem. In the first of this trilogy of blog posts I criticised leading psychiatrists’ calls for a hierarchy of human rights for people with ‘mental disorders’. I discussed how psychiatry needs to accept the right to community living with supports as part of reshaping the public mental health landscape in the second post, The series is based on a chapter I wrote in ‘Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report’. You can read my chapter here, from page 247.
18 March 2014

Psychiatry, medication and human rights

The Global Movement for Mental Health could make a bridge between the public health and disability rights worlds. Aligning themselves with disability rights means rethinking views such as “I can cure mental illness therefore it is not a disability.” In the second of a three-part series I discuss how community living with supports has become a human right that should reshape the public mental health landscape. The series is based on a chapter I wrote in ‘Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report’.
13 March 2014

Have your say on involuntary psychiatric treatment in Europe

A legally-binding European standard on involuntary psychiatric detention and treatment is being drafted by the Council of Europe. If you or a loved one have a “mental disorder” (not our phrase), then you should be concerned. We attended a meeting in Paris on 11 March to find out more. The committee secretariat wants your comments by 21 March.
6 March 2014

A hierarchy of ‘mental health’ rights?

Leading psychiatrists are calling for a hierarchy of rights for people with 'mental disorders'. In this blog post, MDAC's Executive Director argues that their views offend well-established notions of human rights. The is the first in a three-part series, based on a chapter in a new book which discusses torture in healthcare settings.
3 February 2014

Rancid community reactions should spur action on community living

With the European Commission’s blessing and funding, the Hungarian Government is steaming ahead with plans to segregate people with disabilities from large institutions into smaller ones. These are what they call “group homes” (institutions with 8 to 12 beds) and “living centres” (institutions of up to 25 beds). The new institutions, by their very definition, will continue to segregate people from the community. Segregation is a violation of international law. It breeds societal anger, frustration and resentment. It entrenches the very prejudices from which disability rights emerged to eradicate. Enough is enough.
15 January 2014

Torture or abandonment: unmodified ECT and the shocking position of Indian and global psychiatric leaders

Every day hundreds of people in India get electrocuted through their brain without their consent while they are fully awake. A new law being debated by Parliament would ban the use of electroshock without anaesthesia and muscle relaxants. However, the Indian Psychiatric Society and the World Psychiatric Association support the view that this current, terrifying and dangerous practice is acceptable for poor people. They are both on the wrong side of history.

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