Jana Offergeld

 

Social Pedagogue, Researcher
Research Group “Disability and Ageing”, WWU University Münster
Program “Promotion of the Autonomy of elderly Persons with mental disabilities”

The Diploma Course exceeded all my expectations. Not only did it provide me with a broad knowledge of international human rights standards and how they apply within the mental health field, it also delivered a detailed insight on pressing mental health related human rights issues worldwide and presented ways to address these issues.

When I applied for the International Diploma Course in Mental Health Law and Human Rights, I had recently graduated. Being introduced to the principles of inclusion, participation and diversity on a theoretical level, I also witnessed the social, political and economical barriers that hinder their full realization on a practical level. I hoped for the course to provide me with the tools necessary to contribute to the abolishment of these barriers and to promote the fundamental rights of persons with mental disabilities.

From the drafting and review of legislature and policies to the launching of advocacy campaigns, the students were equipped with a whole range of strategies and measures to actively improve the human rights situation within the mental health field.

The residential sessions in Pune were a unique opportunity to connect with user representatives, advocates and professionals from all around the globe and to discuss human rights and mental health related issues. Due to the diverse backgrounds of the participants, different perspectives, ideas and solutions were vividly discussed in and outside of classes. The faculty comprised experts from a range of professional backgrounds and different nationalities, who willingly shared their expertise and – most importantly – were dedicated to the cause of improving the living conditions of persons with mental disabilities worldwide.

Taking the course has truly been a tremendous learning experience and has connected me with a devoted network of activists committed to the support of those who have been denied their fundamental rights for far too long.