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Press Release – Oppose Protocol for Detention, Forced Treatment; Provide Alternatives #WithdrawOviedo

(Brussels) – Council of Europe member states should oppose new proposed standards regulating the detention and forced treatment of people with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today. The body in charge of developing the standards, the Council of Europe’s Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO), consisting of experts from each member state, is to meet on November 21, 2018 in Strasbourg.

The new standards are being developed as a draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention on Bioethics, a Council of Europe convention that regulates human rights in the framework of biology and medicine. The Additional Protocol aims to provide a framework for involuntary hospitalization and treatment of people with so-called “mental disorder” in Europe. The Council of Europe is an inter-governmental human rights organization consisting of 47 member countries, including the 28 European Union states. 

“The Council of Europe prides itself in promoting the highest human rights standards, but the draft Additional Protocol to the Oviedo Convention goes against decades of hard-fought progress towards equal rights for people with disabilities.” said Lea Labaki, of the Disability Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. “European governments should publicly oppose the protocol and stop its further development.”

Read more here.

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Making Sense of Trauma – Moving Away from the Disease Model and Embracing Cultural Responses to Stress

Reblog from Mad in America

Noel Hunter recently wrote on Mad in America about how the ‘trauma-informed trend often falls short’. In this article, she argues that while there are more and more mental health professionals who are becoming ‘trauma-informed’ and though the trend is moving in that direction, many of them have not moved beyond the disease model of trauma and are yet to embrace the holistic understanding of trauma and recovery. 

She writes about the problem of ‘invisible trauma’ – trauma which does not check off the traditional, DSM led understanding of how, why and what trauma should look like and be caused by. She argues that trauma is highly subjective and “what is considered to be life-threatening to a two-year-old is very different than to a 22-year-old”. She argues compellingly that being ‘trauma-informed’ for most mental health professionals is limited to that trauma that is easily “identifiable and measurable” otherwise it “apparently doesn’t matter”.

She goes on to write about the export of Western and Global North (American) models to understand mental health and stress, often leading to far larger and graver systemic problems. She uses the example of the import of a foreign model in Africa by the missionaries which led to the eradication of age old African customs and the implementation of apartheid. She argues that “It is time we started embracing diversity, difference, complexity, and humility. Mental health professionals would do well to consider that we are a tiny speck among the history of healers, believers, story-tellers, philosophers, charlatans, snake oil salesman, lovers, judges, and ideologists. No checklist or questionnaire will ever change that.”

Read the full article here.

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Reframing mental health conversations from ‘What’s wrong with you?’ to ‘What’s happened to you?’

Originally published on Mad in America

Zenobia Morrill recently wrote on Mad in America on Trauma-Informed care with survivors perspectives. Based on a new editorial in the Journal of Mental Health by Dr. Angela Sweeney in collaboration with Dr. Danny Taggart, she writes on trauma informed approaches and how survivors perspectives come into context especially with re-traumatization through mental health services. Sweeney and Taggart write ““By recreating abuse through ‘power over’ relationships, services can revictimise service users, preventing recovery,” they write. “This highlights the need for psychiatric services to do the opposite of trauma: from fear to safety, from control to empowerment, and from abuse of power to accountability and transparency.”

Morrill also addresses the “orienting shift” that comes with reframing “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?”.

Read the full article here

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A Cross Disability Understanding of the Effects of Stigma and Social Factors on Health Outcomes

Reblog from Mad in America

Sadie Cathcart recently wrote on Mad in America about a new study on autism by Monique Botha and David M. Frost from the University of Surrey. 

Botha and Frost write “The minority model of disability is underpinned by the notion that one can have a condition the medical model considers a disability, but in actuality, it is a society with restrictive notions of normal that creates disability”. Cathcart writes about the arguments surrounding the ‘deficit’ versus ‘neurodivergent’ perspectives on autism. 

Read the full article here.

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Join the #WhatWENeed Campaign

#WhatWENeed is full CRPD Compliance on the inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities.

Partners for reframing from Mental Health to Inclusion this International Mental Health Week, 2018[1]

Persons with psychosocial disabilities, users and survivors of psychiatry, people with “mad” identities and other identities thereof are herewith calling for support to have our voices amplified through this International Mental Health Week 2018  as we gear towards increasing our full and effective participation in communities that are inclusive. We also express our concerns over the spread of the medical model through the middle and low-income countries importing western models that we know have failed.

The medical model, proposed by the “Global Mental Health Movement”, since the first Lancet issue in 2007, has set ablaze through Low and Middle Income Countries of the world (LMICs) with its regressive approach towards mental health and persons with psychosocial disabilities contrary to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This year, based on the non-compliant work of the Global Mental Health Movement, the “Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit” is being organized in London during the World Mental Health Week of 2018 by the UK Government, the WHO and several enabling agencies. 

To our dismay, the summit is being designed and conducted without participation of persons with psychosocial disabilities and users and survivors of psychiatry, opposing the very tenet of the CRPD that requires of persons with disabilities in matters concerning them which in this case are persons with psychosocial disabilities.  According to their website, a Lancet paper is promised to be released, which has aroused the ire of the movement of persons with psychosocial disabilities, their supporters and their allies worldwide but especially in the LMICs where such actions are predicted to have maximum impact.

We feel that the summit will undo the significant development that has happened towards a rights based perspective for persons with psychosocial disabilities by the Reports from Special Rapporteur (Disabilities), statements from the Special Rapporteur (Health), the mental health and human rights report (2018) from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the General Comments on Legal Capacity, Women Living independently.

Most recently, allied UN bodies have also issued very strong statements supporting moves to realize all human rights for persons with psychosocial disabilities. All these positive efforts have also been supported by far reaching policy changes worldwide, on enabling CRPD compliance.

In a deliberate response to these complex new developments worldwide, a “Bali Declaration” was issued by TCI Asia Pacific in August, 2018 affirming once again a call to CRPD commitment and reframing mental health in the direction of inclusion.  The “North driving the South” phenomenon has evoked strong counter response from TCI Asia Pacific and allied organizations from Africa and Latin America especially when we know that the western model of psychiatry based on colonial practices of isolation and coercion and offering little more than medication is a failure. The Declaration expresses alarm at the import of models and the impending violations in human rights that need more universal visibility and advocacy worldwide.

TCI AP is concerned that the GMH movement is influencing the world in setting the lowest standard of the CRPD for persons with psychosocial disabilities. What we need instead is to be engaged in constructive actions of community development and not medicalisation as the solution. Our movement is thus creating new and continuing critical messaging and advocacy with member states reiterating our advocacy for full CRPD compliance and our right to live in the community. We believe that the answers are to be found in promoting policies of practices that have inclusion across services in line with article 19 as core principle, process and outcomes.

Therefore, to counter the detrimental impact of the medical focused discussions that we see happening at the Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit, TCI Asia Pacific will run an online campaign to have our voices heard from 1st October – 30th November 2018

We invite you to join us across regions and boundaries to express ourselves collectively.

  • You may link the campaign with your programmes for the International Mental Health Week by keeping us in the loop so that we can partner with your efforts and synergise.
  • Or you may partner with the campaign by sharing your organisation’s name, logo, or let us know how you want to be visible on the public platforms.
  • Or you may connect on:


  1. Tweet messages on the topic. Do not forget to add #WhatWENeed @TCIAsia to your messages.           2.
  2. We encourage a photo-campaign with messaging for Twitter which you can tweet yourself but if you do not have a twitter account or unable to open one, you may send your photos to us with a subject line ‘Twitter photo-campaign’
  3. Please keep retweeting the tweets on #WhatWENeed


  1. Like our Facebook page ‘What We Need’
  2. Post messages on the page
  3. Share the messages from the page to your networks


  1. Our blog is do share with your networks
  2. You may share a blog post with us with a word limit between 500 – 1200 words           
  3. You may share you blog in your national language
  4. Blog post may be shared on Please write ‘Blog post’ as the subject of your mail.

For any further details or doubt contact