World Health Organization report on community mental health

June 11, 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report: Guidance and technical packages on community mental health service: Promoting person-centred and rights-based approaches.

The purpose of the report is to inform people responsible for the provision of mental health care at all levels – as well as a broader audience that includes Government departments responsible for employment, housing and social care, academics and civil society organizations – of the benefits of community mental health services that are respectful of human rights and focused on recovery.

The WHO said that human rights violations in mental healthcare services are still far too common in countries of all income levels. Examples include; forced admission and forced treatment, manual, physical and chemical restraint, physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse, and unsanitary living conditions.

The WHO state that there is a need for:

  • Legal and policy frameworks that are respectful of human rights.
  • Political commitment to and an increase in funding for developing/scaling up community mental health services that are respectful of human rights.
  • Initial training and follow-up supervision provided to all staff involved in providing care to people with mental health conditions.

Community-based mental health services that:

  • Do not use coercive practices such as seclusion and restraint.
  • Do not accept any form of physical, verbal, psychological or sexual abuse.
  • Respect people’s choices and decisions about their treatment, care and support.
  • Provide directly or facilitate access to support with housing, education, professional opportunities, and relationships.

Karyn Kirkpatrick, CEO KeyRing Living Support Networks, said, ‘We believe that everyone should have access to support that connects and inspires them to live the life they want. The WHO report clearly outlines the steps that are needed to ensure community-based approaches that put people at the centre of their own lives. We will continue to work with local authorities and providers to facilitate these approaches.’

 Visit the World Health Organization for more information about the mental health services guidance and global case study insights.

How robust are the aims set out in the Government’s White Paper on Reforming the Mental Health Act? Kathy Roberts, Chief Executive of Association of Mental Health Providers, discusses the background to the proposals and pores over the detail of the Paper.


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