Redefining International Mental Health Care in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

(August 2021)
Hannah, J., Barsky, B. and Pūras, D, pp 29-43 in: Mental Health, Legal Capacity, and Human Rights. Editors: Stein, M., Mahomed, F., Sunkel, C. and Patel, V., Cambridge University Press

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities for people with psychosocial disabilities producing in its wake a serious obstacle for mental health policymakers and advocates committed to upholding Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To overcome this obstacle, stakeholders must resist a common tendency in international mental health policymaking: to over-invest in interventions that arise from a biomedical conception of mental illness. Instead, the pandemic is an opportunity to look beyond the dominant biomedical framework in international mental health care – which has a record of undermining Article 12 principles like legal capacity, autonomy, and self-determination – toward one based on human rights. This shift in positionality will serve to uphold Article 12 and help fulfill the spectrum of human rights for people with psychosocial disabilities. Read more