Arctic Suicide, Social Medicine, and the Purview of Care in Global Mental Health

Lucas Trout and Lisa Wexler Abstract Youth suicide is a significant health disparity in circumpolar indigenous communities, with devastating impacts on individual, family, and community levels. This study draws on structured interviews and ethnographic work with health professionals in the Alaskan Arctic to examine the meanings assigned to Alaska Native youth suicide, as well as the health systems that shape clinicians’ practices of care. By defining suicide as psychogenic on…

The Great March of Return: Lessons from Gaza on Mass Resistance and Mental Health

Bram Wispelwey and Yasser Abu Jamei Abstract The Gaza Strip is under an Israeli land, sea, and air blockade that is exacerbated by Egyptian restrictions and imposes an enormous cost in terms of human suffering. The effects of blockade, poverty, and frequent attacks suffered by the population have taken a significant toll on people’s mental health. The Great March of Return, a mass resistance movement begun in March 2018, initially…

The Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: More Than Just Another Reform of Psychiatry

Jasna Russo and Stephanie Wooley Abstract The social model of disability—which is grounded in the lived realities of disabled people, as well as their activism, research, and theoretical work—has enabled a historic turn in the understanding of disability. This model also facilitates the transition to the rights-based approach that is at the core of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). However, the social model…

BOOK REVIEW: Why Prosecution Is Not the Go-To Tool to Secure Human Rights

Marge Berer Beyond Virtue and Vice: Rethinking Human Rights and Criminal Law, edited by Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019. This multi-authored book, edited by Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman, raises questions about when and why human rights defenders promoting sexuality, reproductive, and gender-based rights as human rights are increasingly calling for the use of criminal law as an enforcement mechanism Its…

Mental Health as a Basic Human Right and the Interference of Commercialized Science

Lisa Cosgrove and Allen F. Shaughnessy Abstract Although there is consensus that a rights-based approach to mental health is needed, there is disagreement about how best to conceptualize and execute it. The dominance of the medical model and industry’s influence on psychiatry has led to an over-emphasis on intra-individual solutions, namely increasing individuals’ access to biomedical treatments, with a resultant under-appreciation for the social and psychosocial determinants of health and…

Addressing the Problem of Severe Underinvestment in Mental Health and Well-Being from a Human Rights Perspective

Faraaz Mahomed Abstract Throughout the world, mental health remains a neglected priority, low on the agenda of policy makers and funders at the national and international levels. While this is shifting somewhat, there remains a considerable need to address the underprioritization of mental health and well-being, perhaps even more so in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, given the history of mental health interventions—which have overemphasized the biomedical model…

The Neglect of Persons with Severe Brain Injury in the United States: An International Human Rights Analysis

Tamar Ezer, Megan S. Wright, and Joseph J. Fins Abstract Brain injury contributes more to death and disability globally than any other traumatic incident. While the past decade has seen significant medical advances, laws and policies remain stumbling blocks to treatment and care. The quality of life of persons with severe brain injury often declines with unnecessary institutionalization and inadequate access to rehabilitation and assistive technologies. This raises a host…

Human Rights, Stigma, and Substance Use

Jenifer Wogen and Maria Teresa Restrepo Abstract The primary purpose of political, civil, socioeconomic, and cultural rights is to protect the dignity of all human beings. Good mental health and well-being is defined by the “social, psychosocial, economic, and physical environment that enables individuals and populations to live a life of dignity, with full enjoyment of their rights and in the equitable pursuit of their potential.”[1] Stigmatization, discrimination, and negative…

Human Rights and the Confinement of People Living with Dementia in Care Homes

Linda Steele, Ray Carr, Kate Swaffer, Lyn Phillipson, and Richard Fleming Abstract This paper responds to growing concerns in human rights practice and scholarship about the confinement of people living with dementia in care homes. Moving beyond the existing focus in human rights scholarship on the role of restrictive practices in confinement, the paper broadens and nuances our understanding of confinement by exploring the daily facilitators of confinement in the…

Right-to-Medicines Litigation and Universal Health Coverage: Institutional Determinants of the Judicialization of Health in Brazil

Mariana P. Socal, Joseph J. Amon, and João Biehl Abstract Over the past three decades, Brazil has developed a decentralized universal health system and achieved significant advances in key health indicators. At the same time, Brazil’s health system has struggled to ensure equitable and quality health services. One response to the broad promises and notable shortcomings has been a sharp rise in right-to-health litigation, most often seeking access to medicines.…