Skip to main content

Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice

Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law: Fighting for Social Justice

Felicity Callard, Norman Sartorius, Julio Arboleda-Flórez, Peter Bartlett, Hanfried Helmchen, Heather Stuart, José Taborda, Graham Thornicroft

ISBN: 978-1-119-95354-8

Apr 2012, Wiley-Blackwell

348 pages

Out of stock



This book describes clearly how legislation can be used to advance the rights and entitlements of people with mental health problems. Straightforward and practical, it provides useful information on how to address disabilities so these people may enjoy full citizenship. It presents the key issues succinctly and illustrates these with legislative examples from around the world. This book documents the role that law can play, at all levels, in combating such discrimination and abuse.
Acknowledgements, ix

Glossary, xiii

1 Introduction, 1

1.1 Using the law in the fight for social justice, 1

1.2 Whom are we addressing?, 5

1.3 The history of this book, 7

1.4 How the book has been organised, 12

1.5 Terms used to describe mental health problems, 14

1.6 Our authorial voice(s), 16

References, 17

2 Principles and Concepts, 19

2.1 The tension between advancing the rights of people with mental health problems and attitudes in society, 20

2.2 Law relating to people with mental health problems: the historical context, 21

2.3 Discrimination, 24

2.4 General versus specific law, 36

2.5 Importance of enforcement, 39

2.6 Social model of disability, 41

2.7 Capacity and competence, 44

2.8 Human rights, 47

2.9 Stigma, discrimination and ‘structural violence’, 52

2.10 Social justice, 54

2.11 What comes next?, 57

References, 57

3 Civil and Political Participation, 63

3.1 Voting, 63

3.2 Jury service, 65

3.3 Measures intended to optimise civil and political participation, 66

References, 69

4 Legal Capacity, Decision-making, Discriminatory Statutes and Practice, 71

4.1 Guardianship and the legal right to make decisions, 71

4.2 Discriminatory statutes and practice, 76

References, 78

5 Work and the Workplace, 79

5.1 Mental health problems and labour force participation, 79

5.2 Intellectual disabilities and labour force participation, 81

5.3 Employment disability legislation, 82

References, 86

6 Education, 89

6.1 United Nations Covenants and examples of country-based legislation, 90

References, 95

7 Housing, 99

7.1 Discrimination in housing, 99

7.2 Examples of legislation, 100

7.3 Community living, 103

References, 106

8 Social Security and Social Protection, 109

8.1 What are social security and social protection?, 109

8.2 Social security and social protection for people with mental health problems, 110

8.3 Elements of social protection/social services legislation, 113

8.4 Implementation challenges, 117

8.5 Examples of legislation, 119

References, 121

9 Health, Health Care and the Right to Health, 125

9.1 Inferior access to mental health care, 125

9.2 Excess rates of co-morbidity and mortality, 125

9.3 ‘Diagnostic overshadowing’ and ‘treatment overshadowing’, 127

9.4 The right to health, 128

9.5 Examples of legislation, 131

References, 132

10 Protection Against Abuse and Research Involving Vulnerable Populations, 137

10.1 General considerations in research, 139

10.2 The nature of vulnerability, 140

10.3 Protection and remedies, 141

10.4 The nature and quality of the investigation, 143

References, 146

11 Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Illness, 149

11.1 Public health approaches to promotion and prevention, 150

11.2 UNCRPD in relation to mental health promotion and mental illness prevention, 151

11.3 Examples of legislation, 153

11.4 Other legislation to promote mental health and prevent mental illness, 156

References, 157

12 Implementation and Enforcement, 159

12.1 Implementation plans and policies, 159

12.2 Participation: professional groups, service user organisations and carer organisations, 166

12.3 Inspections and visitation, 170

12.4 Hearings, 174

12.5 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), 176

12.6 Other complaints mechanisms, 179

12.7 Advocacy, 179

References, 181

13 Summary and Conclusions, 185

References, 190

14 International and Regional Instruments, Standards, Guidelines and Declarations, 191

14.1 International instruments and standards, 193

14.2 Regional human rights systems, treaties, conventions, charters and standards, 203

14.3 Non-binding standards, guidelines and declarations, 215

14.4 Full texts, 220

15 Examples of Disability Legislation from Across the World, 299

16 Organisations and Resources, 307

16.1 Legislation libraries and databases, 307

16.2 World Health Organization literature and resource, 308

16.3 Other intergovernmental organisations and resources, 314

16.4 Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and resources, 317

Index, 323

“This book is an essential resource for anyone in the field of mental health care, support and treatment and particularly those involved in policy or law making, representation and advocacy (including self-advocacy).”  (SCOLAG, 1 October 2014)

""There will be few people, whether experts or those new to this field, who would not find something new or stimulating in this work, and the volume of information it contains is truly admirable."" (Social & Legal Studies, June 2013)

""Mental Illness, Discrimination and the Law
is a useful resource for students of mental health law, policy and ethics – perhaps especially for civil society groups who hope to (re)shape legislation. The diversity of legal edicts and policies from across the world is encouraging."" (The Biologist, May 2013)

“Reading a work that so clearly and accessibly advocates social justice for those with mental illnesses and so consistently and intentionally addresses the subject as a matter of human rights touching all realms of human experience could potentially become an experience of personal empowerment as well as an impetus for effective and well-informed advocacy.”  (Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, December 2012)

“Because of its international remit, it has obvious potential for a worldwide readership but could well be a very useful text for postgraduates researching this area.”  (The British Journal of Psychiatry, November 2012)

“This is an accessible and practical guide that will be of interest to readers from diverse backgrounds, including service users, NGOs, clinicians, legislators and those who work in the sectors reviewed.”  (Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 5 October 2012)