RESOURCE: MindFreedom Kenya Promotes Mental Health Rights

Posted on 18 December 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Networking Opportunities, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

MindFreedom Kenya is an affiliate of MindFreedom International, formed in response to identified gaps in mental health rights, lack of adequate information about substance abuse and impact to society and those directly affected. Since its inception, MindFreedom Kenya has endeavored to develop efforts to transform and diversify the marginalized and the most vulnerable-persons with psychosocial disabilities.

It helps users and survivors to be involved in care planning and making informed decisions about their care and upholding of human rights, advocating inhumane treatment and creating awareness about substance abuse and psychosocial disabilities.

For users and survivors of psychiatry, one of the most important things about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is that it says we have an equal right to legal capacity, which is the right to make our own decisions; and the right to free and informed consent in health care; and that we should not be deprived of liberty based on disability – which means that governments are violating this treaty if they lock us up in psychiatric institutions and do forced treatment. They also have positive obligations, to provide support and services needed to live in the community, and to provide access to support in exercising legal capacity if the person wants this support. Support in exercising legal capacity is the opposite of guardianship, because it means the person is in control of her/his own decisions and chooses the kind of help that she/he wants.

MindFreedom Kenya aim is to influence policy and planning, and to encourage improvements in the management and delivery of mental health services.

Ø Policy makers acknowledging the need and strongly pursuing mental health policies that positively impact their constituents and calling for revision of existing mental policies to match today’s complex and changing mental health care.
Ø Leaders in health profession, professional associations, mental health boards and health care companies to take a leading role in initiatives that increase access, quality and equity. On the same note, they must be able to establish a mental health advisory council independent from government that works collaboratively with policy makers. This mental health advisory council will create a mental health reform blueprints with support and input from both public and private health care sectors. The mental health advisory council along and/with sponsoring policy makers will ensure that such mental health policies are passed, implemented and delivered.
Ø Human Right organizations must recognize equity, access and quality of mental health care is a basic human right and they must take initiatives that will harness just distribution, fair and favorable policies and practically implementable mental health rights processes.
Ø Humanitarian Organizations involved in health care, WHO (World Health Org.) and UN (United Nations) to continue supporting mental health locally made policies and initiatives that are practical to the social realities of the people who need equal representation against abuses within the mental health system.

Jeff Makana
[Addendum, March 23, 2009: MindFreedom Kenya has a new website of its own at

People also can learn about the organization at Jeff Makana’s blog at

Thank you to Jeff Makana for permission to post this information at We Can Do.

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