Member spotlight: July 2017
Mental Health Perspectives (formerly known as the Global Initiative on Psychiatry) is an NGO that works in the field of mental health and human rights since 2000.
Our mission is to contribute to the well-being of society and especially its most disadvantaged groups, through consolidation of their fundamental right to accessible, evidence-based and person-centred services, whilst also prioritising mental health at political level. We are a staff of five people with different educational and professional background. The director is Karilė Levickaitė.
Our organisation’s main values are: the respect for human rights and individuality; Equality; Social inclusion; Analysis and expert knowledge; Transparency and impartiality; Open-mindedness and cooperation; Self-reflection and performance improvement.
What are your main activities?
Our activities involve capacity building and fundraising; policy development and advocacy; watchdog function; trainings and research; public education and awareness raising; publicity; exchange, adaptation and sharing of best practice examples; monitoring of human rights in the fields of mental health and social care; development cooperation; coordination of volunteers; strategic litigation; networking; development of services and programme adaptation.
Tell us a bit more about your work: Mental health advocacy in Lithuania
Mental Health Perspectives has been continuously working on strengthening Lithuanian civil society and its mental health advocacy skills and contributing to good governance from the grassroots level. Being a member of the Coalition “I can live”, National Nongovernmental Development Cooperation Organisations’ Platform, Human Rights Organization’s Coalition as well as a member of international organizations such as Human Rights in Mental Health Federation-FGIP and European umbrella organisation Mental Health Europe allows our organisation to participate in advocacy actions at different levels.
Also, Mental Health Perspectives has gathered NGOs and independent experts into a Coalition for Child’s Rights in Lithuania and the Coalition ”Mental Health 2030”, which created a good basis for further effective mental health advocacy in the country.
Coalition ”Mental Health 2030”, led by Mental Health Perspectives since its foundation in 2014, has also developed an “Alternative action plan 2016 -2018 to the Lithuanian mental health and suicide prevention strategy” and continuously presents their ideas to various stakeholders during conferences and meetings.
The Coalition and its statements are visible in public discourse and encourages debate about mental health in the public space. In 2017 the ”Mental Health 2030” Coalition won a special award for its strengthening of civil society as part of the National Equality and Diversity Awards.
The Coalition proposes systematic changes in the Lithuanian Mental Health System taking action in creating holistic and reachable mental health services for children and people with psychosocial disabilities, implementing evidence based and suicide prevention programmes, raising awareness about mental health in the communities and other measures with concrete proposed actions.
Mental Health Perspectives also closely monitors the deinstitutionalisation progress in Lithuania raising awareness about the transition from institutions to community based services and encouraging authorities to take action and improve the process.
Various actions to advocate for inclusive education were also taken recently. Mental Health Perspective also reacts to any human rights violation in the mental health field in Lithuania if needed by asking various institutions to intervene if it is required.
Strengthening civils society and promoting human rights of intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in Belarus
People with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities are usually deemed to be legally incapable in our neighbouring Belarus and are confined in large residential care institutions, which is the main form of social care services in the country.
Virtually all forms of dissent are removed in the country including restrictive legislation as well as abusive practices are used to impede civil, political, social and other rights, as well as freedom of association and assembly. Mental Health Perspectives is now implementing two projects in Belarus: one is focused on enhancing professionalism and technical skills of Belarusian civil society organisations in the field of advocacy including networking, fundraising and project management.
The other project is focused on developing De-institutionalisation advocacy tools and strategy and to promote and further watchdog the process of de-institutionalisation.
These projects are being funded by the delegation of the European Commission in Belarus. Although the political climate is not favorable to changes in human rights, civil society expresses the need and importance of these projects because of the continuing violations of the rights of people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities.
Other international projects
Mental Health Perspectives – together with various international partners -implements projects related to mental health, human rights and people with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities on a regular basis.
We are currently participating in a project for enhancing procedural rights of persons with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities in criminal proceedings: exploring the need for actions. Mental Health Perspective is always open to new opportunities were we could use our wide range of expertise.
One of our strongest points is our wide range of knowledge about mental health and human rights as well as our awareness raising activities through social media.
Mental Health Perspectives also creates campaigns or local projects to spread the word about more modern and progressist approach to mental health.
In 2017 we have been training specialists working in day-care centres with children from at-risk families. Not only we have increased their knowledge about mental health but also teached them how to use the “Comfort box” methodology that we have developed to facilitate work with children. The methodology helps introduce the variety of existing emotional reactions and their purpose to children by the means of games, fairy-tale reading , discussions and the preparation of a “comfort box ” meant to contain and deal with strong and unpleasant emotions.
Mental Health Perspective main objective is to adapt and create a program that would allow everybody in Lithuania to be able to gain the main knowledge about mental health through easy means in order to improve self-help and the help to others experiencing crises but also to recognise experiences of depression, anxiety, addiction, etc.
We are also doing trainings for journalists, public health specialists, personnel of independent living homes and other groups in society.
Where can we hear from you?
Phone: +370 527 15760
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission’s CERV Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.© MHE - 2022 All rights reserved