Last update 6/18/2012 7:45:00 AM (GMT+7)

WHO launches tools to help stop abuse of people with mental health conditions
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged countries to better protect people with mental health conditions, as the Geneva-based organization launched a tool kit to assess and stop violations to their rights and dignity.

The "WHO QualityRights Tool Kit -- Assessing and improving quality and human rights in mental health and social care" was aimed to ensure that quality of care and human rights standards are put in place in mental health and social care facilities around the world.

Shekar Saxena, Director of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said poor quality services and human rights violations in these facilities were still an everyday occurrence in many places, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

"Decrepit buildings, overcrowding and unhygienic living conditions are a reality for many people living in psychiatric institutions. In many facilities, people are exposed to violence, abuse, harmful treatment and neglect. Many are locked up against their will, overmedicated, put in seclusion cells or restrained, sometimes for years," said Saxena.

The tool kit established key standards that need to be met in all facilities, as well as in social care.

It also provided specific guidance on how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of services, and how to report findings and make appropriate recommendations to improve quality of care and human rights at the health facility and at national level.

The tool kit is a critical first step in a larger WHO QualityRights project which aims to improve the quality of mental health care and human rights conditions in mental health and social care facilities.