Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Groningen Centre for Health Law Onderzoeksprojecten Health determinants

Mental Health

What are the relevant human rights in regard to mental health and mental healthcare services? And where are the shortcomings, challenges and opportunities?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 450 million people worldwide currently suffer from mental ill-health and mental disorders are one of the leading causes for disability and ill-health in the world. Mental health has become a concern in many disciplines and it also deserves to be examined under human rights law. Mental disorders can have a negative impact on the human rights of affected persons as they face stigma and discrimination, are excluded from participation in society and isolated, or even subject to grave violations, such as inhumane and degrading treatment. Human rights law obliges states to protect persons with mental disorders. In the context of mental health, adequate protection of human rights also requires access to mental health services.

In this design study, Natalie Schuck will explore available legislation and identify the applicable human rights framework for mental health. The aim of the research is to reveal opportunities and shortcomings of human rights law, and to provide possible recommendations to not only improve the human rights protection for persons affected by mental disorders, but also advance access to mental health services in line with human rights standards.

The study commences by establishing a normative framework around mental health and by analysing the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health regarding the mental health component. The research continues by examining whether and how additional human rights norms may be necessary to strengthen the protection of persons with mental disorders. Hence, in the second part of the normative analysis, the author will scrutinise the UN Disability Convention in search for human rights crucial for the mental health context. Additionally to the normative framework, the author includes two country studies. Ghana and Germany are picked to uncover opportunities and challenges with the implementation of the established human rights framework. Furthermore, the chosen country studies seek to reveal particularities of domestic legislation that might need more attention in the international discussion about human rights and mental health in order to establish a universally applicable “human right to mental health”.

For more info:

Project researcher: Natalie Schuck

Contact: n.s.schuck
Last modified:17 August 2023 1.02 p.m.