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Report Highlights Ongoing Human Rights Violations In European Mental Health Systems

Research carried out by the University’s Tizard Centre in conjunction with Mental Health Europe highlights ongoing human rights violations and charts possible future changes in European mental health systems.

The report, which provides data across 35 countries as well as personal testimonies about European mental health systems, shows that institutional care, the use of coercion, forced medication, loss of rights and reliance on involuntary hospitalisation of people living with mental ill health is widespread across Europe.

Countries including France, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Germany, as well as those in central and Eastern Europe, still have mental health systems where treatment relies too much on confinement and where tens of thousands of people with mental health problems are still living in closed institutions. Trends like austerity and migration were also issues that impacted upon services.

The study, funded by the Open Society Mental Health Initiative, suggests that although the state of mental health care remains uneven across Europe, potentially promising reforms on legal capacity, guardianship laws and on the transition from institutions to community based-services are being implemented.

The report, entitled Mapping and Understanding Exclusion in Europe, features research from Kent’s Dr Agnes Turnpenny, Gabor Petri and Professor Julie Beadle-Brown. Professor Beadle-Brown explained that a unique feature of the study was in the voice it gives to people who have been forcibly treated.

The chapter of the report dealing with this ‘helps people understand what forced treatment can do to a person, how isolating those experiences can feel and how it can impact upon their recovery’, she said.

Source: University of Kent

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