The Rights to Mental Health and Development

Authored by: Lawrence O. Gostin , Laura Davidson

The Routledge Handbook of International Development, Mental Health and Wellbeing

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367027735
eBook ISBN: 9780429397844
Adobe ISBN:


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It is often argued that there is a ‘right’ to mental health, but what does (or should) it mean? At present the right to mental health is insufficiently robust, but greater conceptual and normative clarity could make the right easier to identify, operationalise, and litigate, in parity with the right to physical health. A rights approach requires advancing the dignity and welfare of persons with mental disabilities, simultaneously helping to fulfil the UN health-related Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) within the new UN Agenda. 1 Vital, too, is monitoring international mental health obligations and measuring their impact. In this chapter, ideas are offered for comprehensive strategies to help states respect, protect, and fulfil the right to mental health, and to implement and enforce such strategies within available resources.

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