Dr. Dainius Pūras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child Psychiatry Social Paediatrics at Vilnius University, teaching at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and Political Science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. He is visiting Professor at the University of Essex (United Kingdom), a Distinguished Visitor with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown university (USA).
Dr. Pūras is a human rights advocate who has been actively involved during the last 30 years in the process of transforming public health policies and services, with special focus on the rights of children, persons with mental disabilities, and other groups in vulnerable situations. He was the founder of Lithuanian society of families with children who have intellectual disabilities; the first President of Lithuanian Psychiatric Association; the Dean of Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University; and the Chairman of the board of two non-governmental organizations in Lithuania: the Global Initiative on Psychiatry, and the Human Rights Monitoring Institute.
Given his distinguished record in a broad areas of public health subjects, Mr. Puras was appointed as Special Rapporteur in the United Nations in June, 2014 and has served since, in that post.
For those not closely following UN special procedures, Dr. Danius Puras is well known for his eye opening report in the summer of 2017, titled, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” (A/HRC/35/21). In this report, made rather routinely as a yearly report before the UN following his country visits and exchanges with stakeholders, he spoke of the people who “disproportionately exposed to human rights violations in mental health settings”. His report was evocative in remembering human history of violations against “forgotten people”, the political abuse of psychiatry. Working on the side of people, Dr. Puras validates the lived experiences of users and survivors of psychiatry, who “recrafted a new narrative for mental health”.
Read his full report here.
Dr. Puras, a man working in the higher echelons of the United Nations, continues to battle the psychiatric vigilante who want to maintain the status quo, despite sweeping changes in the world thinking on psychosocial disabilities, risking his life, credibility and career. TCI supports his work wholeheartedly. We feel gratitude for a man who said it like it is.
We are happy to open the #WhatWENeed Campaign 2019 with his opening statement on World Mental Health Day, 2019, devoted to the topic of Suicide.