International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law
The International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law was launched in October 2008 and is conducted by the Centre for Mental Health Law & Policy at the Indian Law Society, Pune, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, Geneva.
This is a one-year Diploma programme that draws its fundamentals from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and provides guidance on its implications in relation to mental health legislation, policy, services, and practice.
The Diploma aims to impart appropriate knowledge and information on the role of the legislation in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities, as well as how mental health policy and services can work to improve human rights standards within the sector.
Upon completion of the Diploma programme, students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to actively support their countries in drafting, amending, and implementing mental health laws and policies, in line with the UNCRPD and other international standards.
So far, the International Diploma has completed 14 batches with 153 students graduated from 63 countries.
Applications for the 15th batch (2024 – 2025) are now open!
Eligibility and Entry Requirements
The Diploma is ideal for mid-career professionals from the fields of law, human rights, mental health policy, and service-delivery.
- Minimum graduate qualiﬁcation from a recognised university in any of the following subjects: law, medicine or psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, social science, natural science.
- We encourage individuals with psychosocial disabilities and their caregivers/ families to enrol as they are critical players in reform, and can be eﬀective advocates for change. The minimum qualiﬁcation for such applications is a graduate qualiﬁcation in any discipline from a recognised university.
- The selection of students is based on their experience, and statement of purpose.
- Priority is given to students who are likely to have an impact on the field of human rights for people with psychosocial disabilities and law/policy in their respective countries.
The Diploma programme addresses human rights, mental health law, policy, services, social determinants of mental health and its interplay with human rights.
Over the duration of one year, participants will
Develop an understanding of:
- The international human rights framework as it relates to people with psychosocial disabilities, including the UNCRPD.
- The issues around the right to exercise legal capacity, the right to liberty and security of a person, and the right to informed consent.
- Mental health policy, service organisations and their relationship with the mental health legislation.
- How the mental health legislation can promote the right to health, the right to live independently and be included in the community, and improve access to affordable and quality mental health care.
- Specific topics like children’s mental health, humanitarian crisis, homelessness, gender, criminal law from the perspective of human rights.
Develop the ability to:
- Draft, adopt, and enact mental health legislation, policy, and services.
- Monitor the implementation of mental health legislation, policy, and services.
- Advocate for protecting and promoting human rights for people with psychosocial disabilities.
Duration and Course Structure
The International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law is a one-year programme that entails two on-site residential sessions, self-study and a final project submission.
Residential sessions: The first residential session of approximately 15 days is conducted at the start of the programme, and the second residential session of approximately 5 days is conducted at the end of the programme. These sessions are conducted at the Indian Law Society, Pune. During this period, the teaching faculty use a wide variety of teaching methods that include in-person lectures, workshops, small group discussions, learning through documentaries and presentations.
Self-study: Between the two residential sessions, students return home and are required to complete studies at the rate of one module per month, including assignments. During the self-study period, participants will have access to the open-source learning platform, Moodle. This space allows for students to easily access all programme modules and complete the quizzes and other online assignments.
Project submission: Students begin their project work after the first residential session. They are expected to invest two to three working days per month for eight to nine months to successfully complete their project. Each student is assigned an Advisor to help with the selection of a project area and provide ongoing support.
Modules and Main Topics
|A basic understanding of mental health conditions and mental health care
|An introduction to the concepts of mental disorder and their treatments.
|An introduction to basic legal concepts and systems
|An introduction to legal concepts and systems for students from non-legal backgrounds
The core areas of law, the nature of law and their critique
The historical and social context of law in operation
|Context building: mental health and human rights
|The international human rights framework as it relates to people with psychosocial disabilities, including the UNCRPD.
The role of this framework in creating legal obligations on governments to promote and protect the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities.
|Policy and legislative framework for mental health
|Mental health policy, service organisation, and their relationship to mental health legislation.
|Access to mental health care
|The role of mental health legislation in promoting the right to health, the right to live independently and be included in the community, and improve access to quality mental health care.
|Capacity, competence & Supported Decision-Making, and institution-based care
|The issues around the right to exercise legal capacity, the right to liberty and security of person, the right to informed consent.
These concepts in relation to service-delivery in mental health facilities, and guardianship laws.
|Regulatory and review mechanisms
|The purpose, role, and responsibilities of regulatory and review mechanisms in the implementation of mental health legislation, policy, and service.
|Criminal justice and mental health conditions
|The role of criminal law in promoting the rights and welfare of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
|From exclusion to inclusion: rights in the community
|The role of civil and other legislation in promoting the rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities.
|Drafting, adopting, and implementing mental health legislation
|The key issues in drafting and enacting legislation, and the steps involved in ensuring the effective implementation of legislation.
|Special topics – rights of children with mental health conditions
|The multidimensional effect of social determinants on the mental health of children.
Policies and programmes purported to decrease the risks of disorders and enhance protective factors.
An introduction to the UN Convention on the Human Rights of Children.
Strategies to raise the neglected ﬁeld of mental health of children in service development and professional training with reference to primary prevention action.
|Special topic – rights of ‘persons with psychosocial disability’ during humanitarian emergencies
|The speciﬁc needs of people with psychosocial disabilities during humanitarian emergencies.
International instruments to protect and promote their rights during crises.
The online application form needs to be filled and submitted along with the following:
- A written statement of purpose (250 words)
- A letter from sponsoring organisation (if applicable)
Once your application is reviewed, you may further be notified to send:
- A scanned and certified copy of your graduate/post graduate degree
- A letter of recommendation
Fee and Funding
Tuition fee for international students: USD 5933 + 18% tax (GST) = USD 7000.
A limited number of students, of Indian origin and residing in India, will be oﬀered a substantially reduced tuition fee.
Tuition for Indian students: INR 95,000 + 18% tax (GST) = INR 1,12,100.
Tuition fee includes access to live sessions, course material & project supervision.
Please note: We strongly encourage participants from low- and middle-income countries to apply for the Diploma Programme. Please let us know in your Statement of Purpose if you’d want us to consider a fee reduction for your application.
The International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law entails two on-site residential sessions at the Indian Law Society in Pune.
The first residential session is usually in November at the start of the Diploma programme. During this residential session, students attend on-campus lectures and workshops for approximately 2 weeks.
The second residential session lasts for approximately 5 days and is at the end of the programme (the following October/ November). This session is for students to complete their projects, followed by a viva voce assessment. Students also attend an advocacy skills workshop spread over three days.
Teaching Methods and Assesment
The on-site teaching includes lectures, workshops, small group discussions, screening of documentaries, presentations by students, debates involving students and faculty and site visits.
- Assignments – 50% (cumulative)
- Project – 35%
- Quiz – 10% (cumulative)
- Viva Voce – 05%
Students must complete all the above four, i.e. assignments, projects, quizzes, and viva voce, as well as obtain a satisfactory score to be awarded the Diploma Certificate. A satisfactory score is defined as follows:
Block 1: consists of Assignments and quizzes for various modules. Students have to obtain 50% of marks for Assignments and quizzes together.
Block 2: consists of Project and Viva Voce. Students have to obtain 50% of marks for the Projects and Viva voce together.
Thus students have to pass separately in both the blocks.
Diploma with a Passing Grade: Students who obtain more than 50% marks but less than 75% of total marks will be awarded the Diploma in a passing grade.
Diploma with a Distinction Grade: Students obtaining 75% or more of total marks will be awarded the Diploma in a Distinction grade.
Dr Soumitra Pathare, MD DPM MRCPsych PhD
Dr Kaustubh Joag, Psychiatrist
Nimisha Ajaikumar, M Sc Clinical Psychology
Meera Damji, Lead, Communications & Media Research
Sufwan Hasan, Visual Communications Designer
Examples of Past Projects
The extent of human rights violations of persons with a mental disability in the criminal justice system in South Africa
- Critically analyse and review the existing legislation on mental health law and the criminal justice legislation pertaining to people with mental disabilities in South Africa.
- To highlight the extent of human rights violations with regards to Article 5,12,13 and 14 of the CRPD, in the criminal justice system, as set out in the Criminal Procedure Act of South Africa 51 of 1977 and the Mental Health Care Act 17 of 2002.
- To review and analyse legislation and policies which exist in other countries, e.g. Sweden, in which the insanity defence has been abolished, and persons with disability have ‘equal recognition before the law’
- To make recommendations based on analysis and review for reform in mental health legislation and judicial legislation for persons with mental disabilities in South Africa.
- Systematic review of the legislation: Criminal procedures Act 51 of 1977, Mental health Care Act 17 of 2002, and the Convention of the rights of person with disabilities and the articles 5,12,13 and 14, relevant to persons with disabilities and the criminal justice system.
- Scientific article reviews regarding international human rights, mental health law and the criminal justice system in South Africa and Sweden.
- Keyword Search relating to mental health disorder ,disability or impairment, mental health law, human rights, human rights law, international human rights, criminal justice, criminal capacity, insanity defence, criminal procedure, legal capacity, mentally ill offender, Criminal procedures act of SA, Mental Health Care act of South Africa, Brottsbalken-Swedish Penal Code, Convention of the rights of persons with disability- Article 5,12,13,14,unfitness to stand trial.
There are multiple human rights violations present in South African legislation when the people with mental disabilities interact with the criminal justice system. These violations are specifically related to Article 5,12,13 and 14 of the CRPD. South Africa is a signed and ratified member of the convention. Despite this, our legislation to a large extent remains non-compliant. The CPA and MHCA promote human rights violations, and the state has made little or no provision for the fulfilment of their obligations as stipulated by the CRPD. The state has obligations to the mentally disabled in the criminal justice system and reform in some cases requires immediate action to be taken to safeguard the rights of this marginalised and vulnerable population. Reform in legislation will require that some laws be abolished, and others require review, to achieve compliance with the CRPD. The CRPD is one of the most progressive conventions regarding the rights of people with disability, however there is a serious lack of awareness of this convention in mental health and criminal justice areas in South Africa, and change or reform requires that education, training and awareness of these issues is given priority. Mental health policy should address the inefficiencies in the system and create a co-ordinated effort in order to address and overcome the challenges of the current system.
“Is the UK’s use of Immigration Removal Centre’s (IRC) with respect of people with mental health issues compatible with its commitments under international human rights law?”
The question this project seeks to answer is, “Is the UK’s use of Immigration Removal Centres (IRC) with respect to people with mental health issues compatible with its commitments under international human rights law?” The project will examine the relevant international human rights standards, analyze the process for identifying individuals with mental health problems prior to being sent to IRCs, on arrival, and during their stay, as well as the mental health treatment offered/provided.
Compliance with international human rights law was examined by focusing on specific articles within the CRPD, as well as other key legislation. I have drawn on findings from governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as international monitoring body reports.
The use of detention itself and the provision of involuntary treatment under the MHA (1983) raises human rights issues in themselves but is beyond the scope of this project. The project highlights areas where the UK is not compliant with its obligations. There is a lack of awareness amongst staff on mental health, which impacts on their ability to identify those that should not be detained as per home office policy. Once in IRC’s, detainees do not receive equal recognition before the law, and their integrity and right to privacy are not respected. Examples of detainees experiencing torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, as well as exploitation, violence, and abuse within IRC’s, have been highlighted, including the use of segregation. There is a lack of screening for and monitoring of mental health disorders despite high rates of distress, including self-harm and suicidal ideation. Available treatment is woefully inadequate, and detainees do not have access to the full range of treatments according to the NHS stepped care model, resulting in an over-reliance on psychotropic medication. Treatment for severe mental health disorders does not meet the criteria for the least restrictive option; hence, detainees are not able to obtain the highest attainable standard of health. The government’s failure to collect appropriate information and use this to implement and evaluate services means that many of the concerns are either not documented or are not used in a way to ensure that the state meets its obligations. In response to the areas of non-compliance identified, a number of recommendations have been made, which it is proposed would address these.
Situation analysis on human rights approaches towards children with mental disabilities in Tajikistan.
To determine the general situation regarding the existing discrimination and violation of the rights of children (from birth to 18) with mental disabilities in Tajikistan, and to review and analyze the existing local policy for health and social care of children with mental disabilities. This aims to describe violations of their rights according to CRC and CRPD due to estimated gaps in health and social care of children in Tajikistan.
Review and analysis of the national legislation for compliance with international standards, including a desk review and comparative analysis of international and national documents, reports, and available statistical data.
The fact is that state policy is aimed at improving the quality of life for all children, including children with disabilities. The conducted analysis reveals a discriminatory approach in local legislation towards children with mental disabilities and a lack of Human Rights approaches, resulting in limited access to necessary community health and social care, as well as access to education and other essential well-being services for children with mental disabilities in Tajikistan. Although some activities have been undertaken for the development of programs for children from birth to 18 years old, there is still no specific information and care outlined in normative documents for children with mental disabilities.
In Tajikistan, the development of programs for children with mental disabilities is at an early stage. However, the advantage of our country is the opportunity to learn from many excellent international practices that have improved and advanced over the years. Taking into account the experiences of others, our country has the opportunity to develop the most effective system of care for children with mental disabilities. Additionally, it is recommended that the Law of the Republic of Tajikistan on Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities and the Law on Child Protection be reviewed and amended based on CRC and CRPD, transforming them into a comprehensive law on the rights of children. This law should cover all relevant sectors, including health, rehabilitation, social protection, and education, specifying mechanisms for coordination, decision-making, regular monitoring and reporting, and control of resources.
Assessment of compliance of South African legal frameworks related to employment practices, for people with psychosocial disabilities, to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
The objective of the study is to analyze legal frameworks related to employment practices in South Africa in order to identify the legislative shortfalls in supporting employees vulnerable to mental health concerns, specifically psycho-social conditions. The analysis will provide a baseline to create and address potential solutions to ensure employment accessibility and a continuum of employment for all employees, equally.
I conducted a systematic desktop review and analysis of South African employment laws, policies, and regulations and how they comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol (UNCRPD). My research was predominantly guided by the provisions stated in Articles 1 and 27 of the UNCRPD. Article 27 addresses access to employment; continuance of employment; support in the workplace; discrimination and unfair practices during employment. I also reviewed definitions of ‘disability’ and ‘persons with disabilities’ within the scope of the UNCRPD and how it translates to South African laws, policies, and regulations.
- There is no attempt in defining ‘disability,’ but instead, definitions exist in ‘persons with disabilities.’ Findings also highlighted considerable variability in the definitions related to disability. The application of disabilities to psychosocial conditions is ambiguous, which lends itself to discrimination against employees suffering from psychosocial conditions, as the ‘power of interpretation’ often lies with the discretion of the employer.
- Stigma is still a major cause and barrier to entering employment, and policies do not emphasize training and literacy enough for companies to willingly employ people with psychosocial disabilities.
- Placing services and vocational training for people with disabilities, especially those with psychosocial conditions, are limited, reducing opportunities for accessing employment.
- Limited assistance from the public and private sectors to people with psychosocial conditions in finding, obtaining, maintaining, or returning to employment impacts their access to equitable economic inclusion.
- Limited to non-existent support is provided for people with psychosocial conditions to start or sustain their own businesses, impacting their access to equitable economic inclusion.
- The lack of promotion for acquisition in the open labor market of persons with psychosocial conditions. Promotion by incentivized employment of people with disabilities has been implemented by the government; however, ‘people with disabilities’ in the workplace are mostly seen and adhered to with respect to physical disabilities, with little to no incentive for companies to employ people with psychosocial disabilities.
- Non-existent professional rehabilitation or return-to-work programs for any persons with disabilities.
The findings indicated that South African employment laws and policies fall short in complying with Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).