Mental Health Europe welcomes the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities latest report on ‘Ending the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability’. The report provides guidance to States on how to guarantee the liberty and security of persons with disabilities, including persons with psychosocial disabilities.
MHE calls on EU Member States to use this report as a reference document to improve and promote the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. The report mentions MHE Mapping and Understanding Exclusion report findings and regrets the significant increase of involuntary placement in mental health facilities in several European countries.
Even more alarming is that the report identifies deprivation of liberty based on disability to be more prevalent among persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, and that its most recognised form is involuntary placement in mental health facilities. The Special Rapporteur highlights that underlying causes of the deprivation of liberty on the basis of disability remain largely social such as stigma and a lack of community-based support.
MHE is also worried that the deprivation of liberty and involuntary placement of persons with psychosocial disabilities too often result in the use of coercive measures such as involuntary treatment, restraint and seclusion, although promising practices to reduce coercion exist.
This report will hopefully sound the alarm about the current situation of the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities in Europe. It is time for States to ensure their obligations towards persons with disabilities, for example by providing more support in the community and addressing mental health stigma.
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