Challenges Implementing Disability Rights Treaty?

Posted on 17 May 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Comments or Information, Human Rights, Networking Opportunities, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Abdul-Jeff Maalik Makana, the Executive Director of MindFreedom Kenya, wants to learn more about the challenges that other countries experience in implementing the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Below is his appeal for information. Please respond directly to him at kenya@mindfreedom.org.

Dear All,

Greetings from non sunny Nairobi day today!

We have a challenge here in Kenya advocating for the implementation of the UN CRPD. Are other states experiencing similar challenges? What are the challenges?

I recently on a media appearence to create awareness about the work of MindFreedom Kenya & advocating for the implementation of the UN CRPD… one caller to the show reinforced the general view that persons with psychosocial disabilities have no capacity at any time to make decision (Legal capacity) though the UN CRPD guarantees legal capacity(article 12) or even supported decision making.

To quote Daniel Hazen—Human Rights and Advocacy “cease the practice of exceptionalism when it comes to human rights” meaning we cannot downplay the CRPD which is a very important rallying point for our movement.

Mental Health (MH) policies cannot be written in a vacuum…. State parties and other stakeholders should get direction that adopting certain articles of the CRPD versus the CRPD in its entirety has far reaching consequences more so article 12 (right to legal capacity) a big part of the user/survivor movement advocacy.

Lastly, why was the term psychosocial disabled adopted in the UN CRPD versus the term mentally disabled or mentally ill? Here in Africa many don’t see mental illness as a disability? Can you please help me understand how to advocate better for psychosocial disabled term to be adopted and accepted locally.

What are your views:

I am doing a Survey on supporting signing/ratification and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by state parties without reservations.

This obligation would require that the States both refrain from actions that undermine the principles and initiate efforts which would promote them. You can also e-mail your comments directly to kenya@mindfreedom.org
Question:

As a user, a survivor. mental health worker, or human rights activist in mental health do you support the position that the CRPD is non negotiable, and that the nature of this commitment obligates state parties to completely review MH policies and legislation which relied on flawed WHO MI Principles? *

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cnR3dTlrTGFGRjFXY3g2YWhvTUJESUE6MA..

A few sampling of responses collected regarding the above question:

This obligation would require that the States both refrain from actions that undermine the principles and initiate efforts which would promote them.(MH Policy, legislation’s, new MH laws, civic education, more access to mental services at the community level, empowering of persons with psychosocial disabilities to participate equally in society without being discriminated based on disabilities).

Absolutely I support it!! Recently there have been reports that they are opening “behavioral” units in nursing homes in New York State–a way to lock us up again quietly so there won’t be too many complaints. Fortunately we noticed and… Read More now there’s a lawsuit. Good thing so many of us “suffer” from hypervigelance!! Anyway, so good to see that we’re coming together internationally. We can and will find our power no matter how hard the system tried to hold us down.

I am not sure that I can ask for the UN treaty to become nationalized, but I do agree with many of the tenets. I think that I can see where some conflicts of interest might be involved. So better person by person, not this group or that. That is what I think….

With kind regards,

Abdul-Jeff Maalik Makana

__________________________________
Abdul Maalik bin Ali formerly,
Jeff Makana

Executive Director,
MindFreedom Kenya(MF-K)
E-mail:kenya@mindfreedom.org
website: http://www.mindfreedomkenya.interconnection.org
Follow me on twitter@ www.twitter.com/Jeffmakana



Thank you to Abdul Maalik bin Ali for submitting this announcement for publication at We Can Do.

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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.

Regards,
Jeff Makana
kenya@mindfreedom.org
[Addendum, March 23, 2009: MindFreedom Kenya has a new website of its own at http://www.mindfreedomkenya.interconnection.org/

People also can learn about the organization at Jeff Makana’s blog at www.erucall.com.



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

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International Seminar on CBR for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, 27-28 April 2009, Hyderabad, India: Call for Papers

Posted on 6 December 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Call for Papers, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Events and Conferences, Opportunities, Rehabilitation, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jan 24 Addendum: I have just now learned that this seminar, originally scheduled for April 27-28, 2009, is now being postponed. Thank you to one of the conference organizers who left this information in the comments area further below. People interested in the seminar will wish to communicate directly with the seminar organizers (NOT We Can Do). The organizers will issue further information on rescheduled dates when available.

Abstracts for original, unpublished papers need to be submitted by February 7, 2009. Authors will be notified by March 15, 2009. Papers selected for the conference will need to be submitted by April 4, 2009. For participants, early bird registrations (with the cheapest rates) are accepted until February 5, 2009; standard registration is accepted until March 10, 2009; and late registrations are accepted through April 10, 2009.

Sub: Call for nominations and papers for International Seminar on CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation)

Dear Sir / Madam,

Byrraju Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing about a tangible improvement in the quality of lives of the rural underprivileged, with a mission to create a world-class platform for holistic sustainable rural transformation. BF is currently working in 199 villages across six districts of Andhra Pradesh impacting a million people. Its programmes include Healthcare, Disability Rehabilitation and Mental Health, Education and Adult Literacy, Water, Environment and Sanitation, Agri advisory services and Livelihood Skills.

Byrraju Foundation in partnership with National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped (NIOH) Kolkata is organizing International Seminar on CBR for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from 27th- 28th April 2009 at Hyderabad. The co-sponsors are National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped (NIMH) Secunderabad, National Institute for empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities (NIEPMD) Chennai and Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA), Indira Kranti Padam (IKP), Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and Codraid, The Netherlands.

The objectives of the seminar are to create a platform for confluence of best practices and share the knowledge, to provide a forum to discuss issues involved in CBR, to discover new strategies in CBR, to give direction to capacity building in CBR and to come out with recommendations for adaptation in public policy.

The takeaways of the seminar are publication of abstracts of all research articles on CBR during the past 5 years, publication on best practices containing select readings, publication of abstracts and full papers of seminar, publication of Seminar proceedings.

We are aware of the interesting work you are doing in the field of disability and community based rehabilitation. It gives us great pleasure to invite you to participate and even present a paper/poster in the above international seminar. Authors are invited to submit original unpublished manuscripts. Please send your abstracts by 7th February, 2009. The review process will be completed by 15th March 2009. Papers selected for the conference must be submitted no later than 4th April 2009.
Nominations will be accepted until April 10th 2009 by 5:00 p.m. Please fill in the enclosed application form for registration.
Enclosed is the first announcement of seminar and the registration form. We hope to receive a positive response from you.

Detailed instructions for writing and submitting abstracts are in the full-length call for papers (PDF format, 128 Kb). People who wish to register for the conference will wish to download the registration form (PDF format, 16 Kb).

Email correspondence in relation to this seminar can be directed to cbr.seminar09@byrrajufoundation.org

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Dr. L. Govinda Rao,
(Former Director, NIMH, GOI),
Lead Partner, Empowerment of PWDS and Mental Health,
Byrraju Foundation,
Satyam Enclave, N.H 7,
2-74, Jeedimetla Village,
Secunderabad 500 055 AP, India,
Ph 91-40-23191725, 23193881,82,
Fax 91-40-23191726
www.byrrajufoundation.org
Mobile: +996 301 9993

Call for Papers and Nominations
The major change in strategy in rehabilitation and empowerment for the persons with disabilities over the past 25 years has been the expansion of services into the community. This has slowly gathered momentum and has developed into a differentiated programme called Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR). To improve the quality of community services and to upgrade professional skills, there is a need of sharing knowledge at the level of professionals, grass root level workers and various NGOs and implementing agencies of CBR. There is also a need to disseminate best practices for public policy modulation, Therefore, an International on CBR has been planned which will be organized jointly by Byrraju Foundation and National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped at Hyderabad on 27th and 28th April, 2009.

Objectives:

  • To create a platform for confluence of best practices and share the knowledge.
  • To provide a forum to discover new issues involved in CBR.
  • To discover new strategies in CBR.
  • To give direction to capacity building in CBR.
  • To come out with recommendations for adaptation in public policy.

The seminar committee invites you to contribute to the 2009 seminar to be held at Byrraju Foundation, Hyderabad. You are invited to submit abstracts outlining oral and/or poster presentations for peer review by the scientific committee.

Themes:
The theme of the seminar will be on comprehensive access, rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities through CBR approach. Policies and best practices are vital for promotion of CBR. Similarly access to environment (A2E), empowerment in practice is critical to the inclusion and independent living of the PWDs. These are prerequisites to effectiveness of services based on full life-cycle needs (FLCN) and holistic development (HD) that are centered around individuals. Papers and proceedings are, therefore, designed to cover topics, issues and concerns under the broad categories of public policy (PP), access to environment (A2E), full life-cycle needs (FLCN) and holistic development (HD).

There will be one plenary session in each broad theme. There will also be concurrent sessions (two or more) depending upon the number of papers considered for presentation.

Poster Session:
Poster Session is an alternative approach for the presentation of projects/new work which will be available for seminar participants. Posters are strongly invited as they allow extended informal discussions, active participation of co-authors, and are displayed throughout the seminar. All the works submitted to the poster session should be based on the seminar themes.

Abstract specifications:

  • The abstract should be written in English, typed in Arial font and single spaced.
  • The title of paper should be concise in bold capital letters, size 12 and centered.
  • The author(s) name should begin with full first name and family name (the name of the presenting author should be bolded), size 12, normal and centered. Ensure that the author(s) have an affiliated organization listed (aligned left)
  • Presenters contact information – name, address, phone number, email.
  • Text of the abstract should be in font size 12, normal and justified.
  • The body of the text should cover the purpose of introduction, method, results and conclusions (200-250 words).
  • An indication if the abstract is submitted for poster or podium presentation
  • Please indicate the theme you would like to have the abstract included in Key Words – Capitalize the KEY WORDS and include no more than five.
  • Presentations should be 20 minutes long, with 5 minutes allotted for questions afterward.
  • PowerPoint visual support is preferred

Delegates:
All rehabilitation professionals, member of DPOs, CBR workers, CBR managers and administrators, persons with disability, parents, leaders/ social workers working for the empowerment of the PWDs are most welcome to participate in the seminar.

Downloading forms; contacting conference organizers
Detailed instructions for writing and submitting abstracts are in the full-length call for papers (PDF format, 128 Kb). People who wish to register for the conference will wish to download the registration form (PDF format, 16 Kb). If PDF format is not accessible for you, then please contact the conference organizers directly to request alternate format. I have tried to copy/paste the most critical information into this blog post in cases where the file formatting permitted copy/pasting.

Email correspondence in relation to this seminar can be directed to cbr.seminar09@byrrajufoundation.org



Thank you to Lakshmi Narayana with the Byrraju Foundation for submitting this conference announcement for publication at We Can Do.

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RESOURCE: Guidelines on Mental Health in Emergency Situations

Posted on 24 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Natural disasters and conflicts can threaten people’s ability to survive. The most urgent need is usually to bring them food, water, shelter, and other basic services. But emergency situations also can be traumatizing. Even people who did not have any psycho-social disabilities before the emergency may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. And people who already had psycho-social disabilities may be at higher risk during emergencies. Professionals in the humanitarian field increasingly recognize the need to address these challenges in the weeks and months following the start of an emergency situation.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) has released the “IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings,” (PDF format, 831 Kb) which offers suggestions for how professionals can better coordinate services across multiple sectors and agencies to meet the mental health needs of people in emergency settings.

This 99-page publication points out that most mental health services during these situations are very fragmented and poorly coordinated. Some efforts may simply duplicate services already offered without improving upon them. Meanwhile, some dire needs may be overlooked entirely. The answer, they say, is for more agencies, humanitarian organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop working in isolation and start coordinating efforts with other agencies working in the same location.

They emphasize, “Implementation of the guidelines requires extensive collaboration among various humanitarian actors: no single community or agency is expected to have the capacity to implement all necessary minimum responses in the midst of an emergency” (IASC Guidelines, p. 7).

The guide’s inclusion of issues specific to people with existing psycho-social disabilities, including people in institutions, is good to see. People with psycho-social disabilities generally tend to be perhaps the most overlooked among people with disabilities, and people who are forced into institutions are even more forgotten and abandoned by society.

It is disappointing, however, that the guide, at least in my cursory glance at it, did not seem to have more than superficial references to the mental health needs of people who might have physical or sensory disabilities, either with or without additional psycho-social disabilities. This was a missed opportunity to point out, for example, that deaf people may need sign language interpreters or other communication assistance to fully participate in “talk” related services (support groups, etc.). Or that natural disasters, war, and other emergencies can themselves cause new disabilities–and that people may struggle in the first few months afterwards to adjust, psychologically and socially, to their new situation. Or that people who happen to have both a psycho-social disability and also a physical or sensory disability may have been excluded from mental health services even before the emergency–and should not be overlooked during and after.

But, for people concerned with the mental health needs of all people during emergency situations, this guide may serve as a starting point in thinking how to coordinate broader efforts in addressing them. They can download the guide (PDF format, 831 Kb) at:

http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/content/products/docs/Guidelines%20IASC%20Mental%20Health%20Psychosocial.pdf

People interested in the needs of people with disabilities during emergency situations in general might also be interested in the following prior blog posts at We Can Do:

And do also become familiar with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which, among other things, obligates the countries that ratify it to protect the safety of people with disabilities during humanitarian emergencies (see Article 11 of the CRPD).



We Can Do learned about this guide via the email discussion group for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development.

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CONFERENCE: 2nd Intl Forum of the Deaf in Morocco on Mental Health

Posted on 11 June 2008. Filed under: Call for Nominations or Applications, Deaf, Events and Conferences, Middle East and North Africa, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The 2nd international Forum of the Deaf

The 2nd International Forum of the Deaf in Morocco is an initiative that aims to promote: Mental Health awareness among the medical core and the deaf community of Morocco. The establishment of  a national policy to investigate the linguistic, social, mental health, and physical needs of the deaf; for the purpose of developing a cohesive network for the implantation of programs to benefit the unification of the deaf community in Morocco. Subsequently, it will promote contact, participation and cooperation among deaf associations.
 
This Forum is entitled “Mental health and deafness” which will be held in the city of Fez, in order to better educate the population on the issues facing the deaf community.  In accordance with the royal directives, and the initiative of human development, The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association, The Africa Contact Group For Mental Health and Deafness and the World Federation of the Deaf are organizing a Forum of the deaf of Morocco from October 9th to 11th 2008.  45 deaf associations with two delegates (1 deaf and 1 hearing) and 120 specialized educators representing all of Morocco national territories will be invited to attend the forum. The forum of the Deaf of Morocco will comprise of three major themes: Mental Health and deafness, Education and academic qualification, and Sign language.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf is engaged in a number of campaigns to raise the standard of living of the deaf in Morocco. There is a growing public interest in the use of sign language in the various social domains where the deaf are involved. These include courts of law, educational institutions, police stations, and other various places of work. An outstanding example of this association’s dedication for the empowerment of the deaf are a special education training for educators May 2008, a SL training for police officers March 2008 and two summer youth camps for the deaf that were held in Rabat August 2006 and Salé August 2007.  These camps gave the deaf youth of Morocco a chance to interact with one another and to build life long friendships.  As well as, the first steps in building cooperation and participation among deaf associations in Morocco.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS), is looking for organizations to help them organize the second international forum of the deaf in Fez.

The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is a non-governmental organization that strives to address the needs of the entire community, including the deaf youth of Morocco. Its membership consists of over 20 professionals from the city and surrounding areas of the province who have come together to pool their resources and labor in order to help develop the deaf community. The association was incorporated in 2006 under the laws of Morocco with the goal of helping to develop the social and economic roles of the deaf in the larger society. They are led by elected officers, including: a president, treasurer, secretary and vice president, who are chosen each year at an annual meeting.
 
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is nonprofit and raises money for projects through donations from members, grants, and donations from local, national and international government, and non-government organizations. The group has received various awards and certificates of recognition from the government in advancing the status of the deaf.

The association established The First International Forum of the Deaf of Morocco in 2006 in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation Marokkofonds.  The forum was an instrumental opportunity to promote deaf issues in Morocco and International.  This association has also
been advocating the nationwide adoption of sign language as the medium of instruction in all deaf schools and training institutions.

Furthermore, they lobby the Moroccan government of the challenges facing the deaf community.  Finally, this association developed and implemented deaf youth summer camps in association with the Ministry of Sports and Youth.
 
The successful projects led by The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) have illustrated the need to develop deaf awareness, and networking skills to overcome the limited opportunities for the deaf community within the Moroccan society as a whole. The members of The Moroccan
Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) approaches international institutions with the idea of organizing a group of deaf associations and helping them develop these specific skills, with an end goal of enabling them to advance from their current social and economic situation.

Expected outcomes

  • Meadows of 200 thousand deaf persons together with the Moroccan medical core will be sensitized on the mental health and human right of the deaf issues.
  • Implementing awareness raising projects.
  • Deaf empowerment.
  • Training in special education and sign language
  • Establishing a wide range of contacts.

Methodology
 The statistics of 200 thousand deaf persons usually expose a big number of the deaf to the means of specific communication of the handicapped and the non-implication of the handicapped in the programs or fight projects against the sexually transmittable diseases.

 After the difficulties proven by this category of the handicapped the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association takes advantage of this occasion to initiate a campaign of sensitization on the deaf problems, with the assistance of the interpreters in signs. It will also target the medical core and the Moroccan administrations to explain through the different international experts the importance of mental health and deafness.
 
The proposed forum will focus on many of the aforementioned elements in a professional sitting.  A subcommittee of Moroccan facilitators, French facilitators, and other Volunteers will focus on planning programs, while other members of the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf will concentrate on administrative elements of the forum. In implementing both of these as well as cultural activities, the forum will meet the aforementioned objectives.
 
Economic and Social Exchange:

  • Presentations on management methods for the purposes of developing and implementing projects will be presented.
  • Presentation on education and vocational training.
  • Presentation on sign language in the media.
  • Presentations on the need for a unified signing language for the purpose of educational and social development of the deaf will be presented.
  • Exhibition of handcrafted products made by the deaf will be on display.
  • Associations of the deaf will perform musical concert and theatrical presentations daily.

Workshops

  • Mental health and Deafness
  • Education and vocational training
  • Sign language linguistics

If you have any questions related to the conference please feel free to contact :

Mr. Abdelaziz Arssi- Project Director 
Tel/SMS : 0021262102415
Fax:0021235601651
Mail: fmsourds@gmail.com 

Mr. Mohammed DDich -Program Manager
Tel/SMS:0021266511034
Mail:fmsourds@gmail.com

Mr.Rachid El Ouardi- Finance Manager
Tel/SMS: 0021262216863
Mail: fmsourds@gmail.com 

Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue facing the deaf community of Morocco. 



We Can Do received this announcement via the AdHoc_IDC listserv. People interested in the conference should please contact one of the organizers directly, not We Can Do. (Note their phone numbers and email address given above.)

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On-line Course in Global Health and Mental Health in Deaf Communities

Posted on 11 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Deaf, Education and Training Opportunities, Health, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Global Health and Mental Health in Deaf Communities

Professional Studies (PST)

*Online Social Work Course *

*July 7 – August 8, 2008*

This 3-credit course is designed as an online course and introduces the student in the allied health and mental health professions to the global health issues and needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community. The course covers the salient issues in health and mental health care of a population that has been historically overlooked by health care providers due to attitude and communication barriers. The intent of the course is to develop knowledge, values and skills which will give students a basic understanding of the health and mental health issues of deaf people, the health disparities to this population, and the need to become advocates for quality care. This course is offered for both Graduate (SWK 795) and Professional Studies (PST 876) credit.

Tuition
If you register for this course as PST 876 (professional studies), then the cost is $690 for US citizens and $1,380 for international students.

If you register for this course for full academic credit as SWK 795, then tuition is $1931 for US citizens and $3861 for international students.

Registrationurl : cpso.gallaudet.edu/x10978.xml

Contact: summer@gallaudet.edu



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NEWS: The Law Has Been Instrument of Our Oppression, Says Disability Advocate

Posted on 13 February 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People with psychosocial disabilities have been quick to embrace the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). One of them is David Stolper, a South African advocate for the human rights of people with psychosocial disabilities.

Stolper, says, “The whole world looks at our constitution in South Africa and sees it as the most progressive one for the rights of all people, but we in mental health have been totally marginalized.” Stolper, who has been institutionalized in both the United Kingdom and also in South Africa, terms himself a “psychiatric survivor.”

Of the CRPD, he says, “I think it gives us a legal framework and something on paper that will be binding that is a dramatic shift from what we have had before. There has always seemed to be some kind of barbaric tool to control us. The law has been an instrument of our oppression. The convention says that it is time that the government and people around us drop this notion that we cannot think for ourselves.”

We Can Do readers can read a full-length interview with David Stolper about his perspectives on the CRPD at the web site for the Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities:

http://www.africandecade.org/reads/articles/legalcapacityarticle/view

The interview also was published in the newsletter Human Rights Africa, 2007, Issue 2 (PDF format, 1.8 Mb). Human Rights Africa focuses on issues relevant to human rights for persons with disabilities in Africa.

Past issues of Human Rights Africa are available in both English and French in both PDF and Word format at:

http://www.africandecade.org/humanrightsafrica



We Can Do learned of this article through the Disabled People International (DPI) newsletter.



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UPCOMING Post-Conflict Rehabilitation Book

Posted on 9 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, Opportunities, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I have now been informed that the editors for this book are NO LONGER ACCEPTING NEW SUBMISSIONS. This notice is left in place for informational purposes ONLY, and so that people can seek out the book after it is published.

WAS Recruiting chapter authors for a new book
Estimated Completion Date: August 2009
[Again, please note that the date for author applications has now passed and all desired authors have been selected.]

Book title: Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: Creating a Trauma Membrane for Individuals and Communities and Restructuring Lives after Trauma

WAS Recruiting for these chapters:

1. Survival stabilization: This chapter covers the dynamics of providing physical sustenance, medical assistance, and housing to individuals after a conflict situation.
2. Psychological stabilization and crisis intervention: This chapter contains short-term interventions that can be used in the immediate aftermath of the crisis, as well as interventions that are appropriate for several weeks following the crisis. Denial of trauma will be covered in this chapter.
3. Physical rehabilitation: This chapter outlines the basic principles of physical rehabilitation, and the current trends and techniques that are used in developed and developing countries.
4. Psychological rehabilitation for veterans: This chapter addresses acute, conflict-related mental health issues, such as combat stress reactions, grief reactions, and Acute Stress Disorder. Psychological services offered near the front line are explained.
5. Psychological rehabilitation for civilians: This chapter details acute, post-conflict mental health issues from the civilian side, which may include terrorization from military sources. Thus, grief reactions, Acute Stress Disorder, and other psychological reactions to acute stress will be discussed.
6. Trends in coping with trauma: This chapter will review the empirical literature published on coping with traumatic events. This includes gender-related differences in coping with trauma, and distinctions between veterans and civilians.
7. Social reconstruction and economic stabilization: Processes are discussed by which governments and NGOs formulate plans, rebuild infrastructures, and develop resources.
8. Political and social rehabilitation: This chapter focuses on how inter-group tensions are stabilized and healed after treaties are signed and the war or conflict stops (i.e., community-level interventions).

Contact:
Erin Martz, Ph.D. (Editor), Assistant professor, 119D Patterson Hall, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152 USA

As of September 23, 2008, I have been informed that authors are no longer needed for this endeavor.


We Can Do received this announcement via the email distribution list for the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (<a href=”GPDD mailing list“>GPDD). However, neither We Can Do nor GPDD are associated with this publication endeavor. Although it is no longer possible for authors to offer their writing skills, people interested in the topic may wish to keep their eyes open for the release of this book after August 2009.


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NEWS: Human Rights Violations of Argentines with Psychosocial, Mental Disabilities

Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

SEGREGATED FROM SOCIETY IN ATROCIOUS CONDITIONS – ARGENTINA’S MENTAL
HEALTH SYSTEM VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2007— Argentina is among countries with the most psychiatrists per capita in the world—yet people detained in the country’s public psychiatric institutions are subject to serious human rights violations. Ruined Lives, an investigative report released today by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)and the Argentine human rights organization Center for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), finds that 25,000 people are locked away in Argentina’s institutions, segregated from society, many for a lifetime and with no possibility of ever getting out.

Ruined Lives exposes widespread abuse and neglect in these institutions, including people burning to death in isolation cells, complete sensory deprivation in long-term isolation, forced sterilization and sexual and physical abuse. In one psychiatric penal ward in Buenos Aires, men were locked naked in tiny, barren isolation cells with no light or ventilation for months at a time. At another institution, four people died while locked in isolation cells. Toilets overflowed with excrement and floors were flooded with urine.

Investigators found a 16 year-old boy in a crib, his arms and legs tied to his body with strips of cloth, completely immobilized. Staff said he had been tied up since being admitted to the institution more than a year before.

“Argentina’s mental health system detains people on a massive scale without any legal protections,” said Eric Rosenthal, MDRI’s ExecutiveDirector. “The inhumane and degrading treatment we observed is banned by international human rights treaties and should not be tolerated in any society.”

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities world wide. For more information, visit www.mdri.org.

CELS is an Argentine organization devoted to fostering and protecting human rights and strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.cels.org.ar.

The report and photographs can be downloaded from the MDRI web site in either English or Spanish.

MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL
1156 15th St NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 296-0800, Fax: (202) 728-3053
E-mail: mdri@mdri.org
http://www.mdri.org

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI</a).


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NEWS: Researching Mental Health in Developing Countries

Posted on 15 October 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release is taken from the Global Forum for Health Research web site.

PRESS RELEASE Geneva, 10 October 2007– Mental and neurological disorders are responsible for 13% of the global burden of disease. In addition, more than half of the 10 leading risk factors that cause one third of premature deaths worldwide have behavioural determinants, such as unsafe sex, tobacco or alcohol consumption, etc. Despite this evidence, mental health is a neglected and an under researched area of public health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, the Global Forum for Health Research is pleased to launch the following electronic publication:

Research capacity for mental health in low- and middle-income countries: Results of a mapping project

Pratap Sharan, Itzhak Levav, Sylvie Olifson, Andrés de Francisco and Shekhar Saxena (eds.) Geneva, World Health Organization and Global Forum for Health Research, 2007 (www.globalforumhealth.org)

Download full-text PDF (146 p.): www.globalforumhealth.org/filesupld/MentalHealthRC/MHRC_FullText.pdf or see
http://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/en/

The printed publication will be launched at Forum 11, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 29 October to 2 November 2007 (www.globalforumhealth.org).

This report provides an account of the current status of mental health research in 114 LMICs of Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The scale of the study makes it the first systematic attempt to confirm the pressing needs of improving research capacity in mental health. Thus, the report enables evidence-based decision-making in funding and priority setting in the area of mental health research in LMICs. It strongly requests all policy-makers, programme managers, and funders of research for health, at national and global levels, to place mental health high on their agendas.

A total of 4633 mental health researchers and 3829 decision-makers, university administrators and association workers working in the field of mental health were identified:
• Half of the countries mapped had only five or fewer mental health researchers.
• Fifty-seven per cent of the 114 LMICs were found to contribute fewer than five articles to the international mental health indexed literature for a 10-year period (1993–2003), while very few articles could be identified from non-indexed sources in almost 70% of the countries, suggesting a paucity of researchers and mental health research in many LMICs.
• Some countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, the Republic of Korea and South Africa contributed significantly to international mental health publications – a finding that attests to notable variations in mental health research production within as well as across regions.

The main reasons for this paucity of mental health research identified in the study are the many demands faced by clinicians and academics in a context characterized by poor funding, a lack of trained personnel, little infrastructural support, and a paucity of research networks, in institutions which mostly lacked a research culture.

The survey results showed broad agreement among researchers and other mental health related stakeholders, and across regions, regarding priorities for mental health research in LMICs. Epidemiological studies of burden and risk factors, health system research, and social science research were the highest ranked types of needed research. Depression/anxiety, substance use disorders, and psychoses were identified as the top three priority disorders, while prioritized population groups were children and adolescents, women, and persons exposed to violence/trauma. The most important criteria for prioritizing research were burden of disease, social justice, and availability of funds, although researchers and other stakeholders differed markedly regarding the importance of personal interest of researchers as a criterion for prioritizing research.

These findings highlight the need to review and strengthen the management of mental health research so that it meets the national needs of LMICs as well as contributes to the global fund of knowledge. Governments and other institutions in LMICs should devise mechanisms to allocate greater funds to research, capacity and infrastructure strengthening. Although some examples of research impacting policy and practice are available, in general there is little interface between research and policy. There is a need for organizations to bridge the gap between policy and research by sensitizing researchers about the usefulness of involving other stakeholders in their research and sensitizing stakeholders about the importance of good mental health research.

“This report highlights the weak research structures and the lack of connection between mental health decision-makers and researchers in LMICs. It gives nine key recommendations for the development of research for action.”
Professor Lars Jacobsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Psychiatry, Umea University, Sweden

Principal Investigators: Carla Gallo, Oye Gureje, Exaltacion E Lamberte, Jair de Jesus Mari, Guido Mazzotti (deceased), Vikram Patel, Leslie Swartz–ENDS

____________________________________________________________

For additional information or interviews, contact Sylvie Olifson T +41 22 791 1667 sylvie.olifson@globalforumhealth.org or Shekhar Saxena T +41 22 791 3625 saxenas@who.int


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The WHO MIND Project: Psychosocial, Psychiatric Disabilities

Posted on 6 October 2007. Filed under: News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unvieled a project meant to improve the access to, and quality of, treatments available for psychosocial (psychiatric) disabilities such as depression or schizophrenia and neurological disorders such as epilepsy in developing nations.

Psychosocial disabilities and neurological disorders can make it harder for people living in poverty to earn a living and create better futures for themselves and their families.  In addition to the challenges presented by their differences, people with psychosocial or neurological disabilities must also face stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations.   The new WHO Mental Health Improvements for Nations Development (MIND) project is meant to help people overcome these barriers so that people with psychiatric and neurological disabilities can participate more fully in society.  The new web site is at:

http://www.who.int/mental_health/policy/en/


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