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Worldwide issues for people with brain conditions highlighted

29 Jun 2005

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a new guide for countries and stakeholders in creating mental and neurological health legislation.

The WHO Resource Book on Mental Health, Human Rights and Legislation
includes input from hundreds of experts and stakeholders throughout the
world, leaders in psychiatry, psychology, law, and human rights, as
well as representatives from health service users, family groups and
non-governmental organisations.

book examines international human rights standards and shows how they
apply to people with mental and neurological disorders, addresses the
'why' and the 'how-to' of drafting, adopting and implementation, as
well as linking legislation with mental health policy. The book also
includes a 'step-by-step' checklist for reviewing existing legislation
and developing new laws.

book aims to illustrate how a human rights approach to mental health
law improves the quality of psychiatric care and improves access. Chile
is cited as example where recent measures to protect and promote the
rights of people with brain conditions have resulted in investigation
of abuses, changed therapeutic practices, and improved access to
treatment and rehabilitation.

WHO is providing support to a number of countries implementing new laws
that respect, protect and fulfil the rights of people with brain
disorders, with the aim of improving their lives and well-being.

Dr Lee Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said:

have a moral and legal obligation to modernise mental health
legislation. WHO is ready to help its member states fulfil this
obligation with technical support and expert advice.'