International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law

The International Diploma in Mental Health, Human Rights & Law 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. Through the Diploma, participants will learn about the role of legislation in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with mental health issues, and how mental health policy and services can work to improve human rights standards in the sector.

Students will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to actively support their countries into drafting, amending, and implementing mental health laws and policies in line with the UNCRPD and other international standards. The Diploma is ideal for mid-career professionals from the fields of law, human rights, mental health policy, and service-delivery.

The International Diploma has completed 12 batches so far with 150 graduates from 65 countries.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all residential sessions this year. The course will be conducted ONLINE.

Learning Outcomes

The course addresses human rights, mental health law, policy, services, social determinants of mental health and its interplay with human rights. Over the course duration, participants will

Develop an understanding of:

  1. The international human rights framework as it relates to people with mental disabilities, including the UNCRPD.
  2. The issues around the right to exercise legal capacity, the right to liberty and security of a person, and the right to informed consent.
  3. Mental health policy, service organisations and their relationship with the mental health legislation.
  4. 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.
  5. Specific topics like children’s mental health, humanitarian crisis, homelessness, gender, criminal law from the perspective of human rights.

Develop the ability to:

  1. Draft, adopt, and enact mental health legislation, policy, and services.
  2. Monitor the implementation of mental health legislation, policy, and services.
  3. Advocate for protecting and promoting human rights for people with mental health issues.
Course Structure
  1. One-year course
  2. 2 residential sessions: 1st session of 15 days at the start of the course. 2nd residential session of 5 days at the end of the course. Teaching formats include lectures, workshops, small group discussions, screenings of documentaries, presentations by students, and debate. However, due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all residential sessions this year. The course will be conducted ONLINE.
  3. Self-study: Between these two residential sessions, students return home and are required to complete studies at the rate of one module per month, including assignments.
  4. Final project: Students begin their final project after the first residential session, once they return home. They are expected to invest two to three working days per month for eight to nine months to successfully complete it. They are assigned advisors, and can work on any topic of their choice from the fields mental health, law, and human rights. The scope of the project is 7000 to 10000 words.

 

MODULES MAIN TOPICS
BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF MENTAL DISORDERS AND THEIR TREATMENT An introduction to the concepts of mental disorder and their treatments.
BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF LAW AND LEGAL SYSTEMS An introduction to the concepts of mental disorder and their treatments.
BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF LAW AND LEGAL 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.
THE CONTEXT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS
  • The international human rights framework as it relates to people with mental disabilities, including the UNCRPD.
  • The role of this framework in creating legal obligations on governments to promote and protect the rights of people with mental disabilities.
POLICY, SERVICE, 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.
ADMISSION AND DISCHARGE FROM HOSPITAL & TREATMENT OF MENTAL DISABILITY
  • 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 LAW AND MENTAL DISABILITY The role of criminal law in promoting the rights and welfare of persons with mental disabilities.
RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITY IN THE COMMUNITY – ADDITIONAL SUBSTANTIVE PROVISIONS FOR LEGISLATION The role of civil and other legislation in promoting the rights of persons with mental 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 PROBLEMS
  • 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 PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITY DURING HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCIES
  • The specific needs of people with mental disabilities during humanitarian emergencies.
  • International instruments to protect and promote their rights during crises.

 

Application Process & Fee

The completed application form should be submitted online. Along with the form, please include:

  • A written statement of purpose (250 words)
  • 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

Entry requirements

  • 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 people with mental health issues and caregivers/families to enroll 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 those who are likely to be able to immediately influence the field of human rights for people with mental health issues, and law and policy in their own countries.

Fee and funding
Tuition fee for all students are USD 4200 (inclusive of applicable taxes). A limited number of students, of Indian origin and residing in India, will be offered a substantially reduced tuition fee of INR 50,000 (inclusive of applicable taxes). Tuition fee includes course books and other learning material.

Please note: We strongly encourage participants from low- and middle-income countries to apply for this course. Please let us know in your Statement of Purpose if you’d want us to consider a fee reduction for your application.

Residential Sessions

Please note: Due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all residential sessions this year. The course will be conducted ONLINE.

The first residential session usually starts in November. During this residential session, students attend on-campus lectures and workshops for 2 weeks.

The second residential session lasts for one week and is at the end of the course (October-November). This session is to complete projects, take exams and receive the Diploma Certificate. Between these two residential sessions, students are required to complete & review the online lectures from home at an average pace of one module per month, complete the study exercises, essays or other homework assignments related to each of the modules which will be posted on the web.

In addition, students also complete a project on a topic related to mental health, law, and human rights.

 

Teaching Methods & Examination

Teaching Methods
The on-site teaching includes lectures, workshops, small group discussions, screening of documentaries, presentations by students, debates involving students and faculty and site visits. However, due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all residential sessions this year. The course will be conducted ONLINE.

Assessment / Examination
Weightage in the final assessment

  1. Assignments – 50% (cumulative)
  2. Project – 35%
  3. Quiz – 10% (cumulative)
  4. Viva Voce – 05%

Students must complete all the above four, i.e. assignments, projects, quizzes, and viva voce, and 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.

The Diploma with a Passing Grade and Diploma with a Distinction Grade. Students who obtain more than 50% marks but less than 75% of total marks will be awarded the Diploma in a passing grade. Students obtaining 75% or more of total marks will be awarded the Diploma in a Distinction grade.

Timeline
Date Particulars
20th March 2021 Prospectus and application forms available on website
31st July 2021 Last date for receiving applications
15th August 2021 Final confirmation of admission
15th September Last date for payment of fees

 

Please note: Due to COVID-19, we have decided to cancel all residential sessions this year. The course will be conducted ONLINE.

Examples of Past Projects
Reforming mental health legislation in the Seychelles: a service user’s perspective

Objectives
To share my experience as a service user being part of a committee reforming Seychelles Mental Health Legislation, and to make recommendations about how things could have been done better from a service user perspective, and finally, to understand what would be the best way to replicate this, if it were to be done in other countries.

Project methodology: what worked and what did not
The project methodology had four key components. The establishment of the NMHAC, which I was part of; assessment of the mental health and related legislation of the Seychelles against the CRPD, which was done by our external consultant; the development and implementation of a communication strategy, which was not fully implemented; and engagement with stakeholders. We had two stakeholders meetings and I had to go through minutes and other reports and documents about the project also from documents I got while being part of the NMHAC and come up with what I wrote as a project. We had an expert on mental health legislation and an exterior manager for the project.

Conclusion
The Seychelles now has new mental health legislation before the Parliament that respects and protects the rights of persons with mental disability. It is not totally compliant with the CRPD in that it still allows “facilitated” admission however the major focus of the legislation is on “independent” admission. There are proper checks and balances to protect rights. The legislation has not yet been approved by Parliament and the NMHAC and other members of civil society need to be vigilant.

Comparison of primary health care provider’s attitude towards mental health conditions, HIV/AIDS, hypertension and diabetes and the integration of the management of these conditions into primary health care, Juba County, South Sudan

Introduction
Mental health disorders, HIV/AIDS and NCDs are inter-connected, highly co-morbid, share important pathways to disease and risk factors. The WHO thus, recommends the management of those conditions to be integrated into primary health care. Negative provider’s attitudes can potentially impede integration efforts therefore, denying service users right to access health services contrary to provisions in International Human Rights Charters. Documentation of attitudes of care providers towards those conditions and integration can inform policy makers on adaptation of guidelines for management of those conditions as well as guide the process of integration.

Objectives
To examine attitude and associated socio-demographic factors of care providers towards service users with mental health disorders, HIV/AIDS and NCDs and the integration of their management into primary health care as well as relate whether the provider’s views promote provisions of International Human Rights Charters.

Methods
Using convenience sampling, a total of 10 primary health centers in Jubek Country, South Sudan were selected as study sites. During August, 2018, we systematically approached and interviewed service providers more likely to be involved in the continuum of patient care such as nurses and clinical officers by administering a questionnaire.

Results
Of 140 service providers interviewed, responses of 134 primary health providers were analyzed. Three quarters of the respondent were female. About 70% of all respondent demonstrated positive attitude towards physical health conditions (HIV/AIDS and NCDs) compared to persons with mental health disorders (64%). Providers also perceived more positively the integration of management of physical health conditions (HIV/AIDS, 78%; NCDS, 76%) into routine primary health care then the integration of mental health disorders (68%). Health providers who have worked in a health facility for five or less years are more likely to have positive attitude towards HIV/AIDS (p-value 0.032) and mental health disorders (p-value 0.58) than those who have worked for a longer periods. However; age, gender, profession, recent training in those conditions, religious affiliation and the volume of monthly patient attendance at health facility were not associated with attitude towards any of the three set of disorders.

Conclusion and recommendations
Mental health unlike physical health disorders are perceived negatively among primary care providers. It is likely that greater stigma is directed by primary care providers towards persons with mental health disorders than it is the case for those with physical health conditions. Other than the duration of work in a particular health facility, gender, age, recent training in mental health or HIV/AIDs or NCDs, religious affiliation, working in a low or high volume center does not influence the attitude pattern of providers towards those conditions. Negative attitude can lead to discrimination and therefore, deprivation of the right of service users to enjoyment of the highest possible standard of health as stipulated in international charters. Tainting and on the job mentorship especially targeting providers who have worked longer in a given health facility is recommended.

Survey on human rights based on who tool for assessing quality and human rights conditions in mental health facilities in Ethiopia

Objective
The purpose of this research is to assess quality of services, conditions and human rights in Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, using the WHO tool for assessing quality and human rights conditions in mental health facilities.

Methodology
The research consisted of observations and interviews. Fourteen interviews were conducted, six with users, two with family members and six with staff members. The following thematic areas were investigated in the observations and interviews:

  • Profession, professionalism and consulting with health professionals
  • Building conditions and sleeping conditions
  • Seclusion, restraint and management of crisis situations
  • Food, water and diet
  • Clothing
  • Hygiene, bathing and toilet facilities
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), psychosurgery and other medical procedures that have permanent and irreversible effects
  • Activities and restrictions to communicate and to leave the facility
  • Humanity, dignity and respect
  • Psychotropic medication

Observations and interviews were conducted by the author together with a hospital staff member assigned by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital.

The findings for each theme are summarized in the table below:

Theme Rating
Theme 1: The right to an adequate standard of living Achievement Initiated (A/I)
Theme 2: The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health Achieved partially (A/P)
Theme 4: Freedoms from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and from exploitation, violence and abuse Not initiated (N/I)

Discussion
From the observations and interviews with users, family members and staff members several issues related to human rights transpired, and more specifically to violations of the rights to an adequate standard of living, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the right of freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Many violations of human rights have been discovered in this survey. Users are denied basic rights and exposed to inhuman treatments.
Areas where human rights have to be implemented include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), general hygiene and clothing, seclusion and restraint, humanity, dignity and respect. The quality of services needs to be greatly improved.