Review of legal and administrative provisions protecting the rights of the mentally ill

Much of the legislation concerning mental illness places emphasis on the ways in which the society can be protected from people with a mental illness. The project that the Action Mental Health Programmes has undertaken focuses on legislation that will protect the mentally ill from discrimination and ill treatment by authorities, public institutions, social agencies and individuals.

The project started by the review of relevant legislation in various countries as well as of legislation related work by international agencies. The material collected by Dr Callard who was invited to carry out this work has been examined and discussed by experts in different countries and by a steering committee composed of  representatives of the relevant WPA sections (on stigma and on forensic psychiatry) and experts with a track record of working in the field of public health, ethics and legislation. The members of the steering committee were  Julio Arboleda Florez, Peter Bartlett,  Felicity Callard,  Norman  Sartorius (Chairperson), Heather Stuart, Jose Taborda and  Graham Thornicroft.

Once completed the review was published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.  (Callard F, Sartorius N, Arboleda-Flórez J, Barlett P, Hanfried H, Taborda J. Stuart H, Thornicroft G. (2012). Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice. Wiley-Blackwell, A.John Wiley & Sons, 352 p. (ISBN 978-1-119-95354-8)).

A symposium during the World Congress of Psychiatry in Buenos Aires (September 2011) and a lecture by F. Callard during the European Congress of Social Psychiatry presented the publication and the main findings and recommendations of the review.