Presidency of Latvia in the Council of Europe
Ensuring respect for autonomy in mental healthcare
The Covid-19 pandemic has raised great concerns about health, including mental health, for individuals and communities. As acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), “in recent years there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals. However, despite progress in some countries, people with mental health issues often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.”
Having regard to the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and taking into account the important work achieved by the United Nations, namely on the rights of persons with disabilities, it is essential that the Council of Europe (CoE) Member states continue to take action with a view to improving the protection and promoting the autonomy and dignity of persons receiving mental health care.
- The Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health (CDBIO) of the Council of Europe, in cooperation with the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia and the University of Latvia, have the pleasure to invite you to the jointly organised Conference on Promoting autonomy in mental healthcare practice on 14 November. The event will focus on implementation and good practices that promote the respect for autonomy in the provision of mental healthcare services.
- As an introduction to the Conference, a Symposium for legal practitioners, organised by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia and the University of Latvia, will be held on 13 November (the day before the conference). It will present the legal framework for protecting human dignity and freedom in in mental healthcare.
- All sessions will be held in-person and live streamed. Interpretation will be available in English, French and Latvian.
13 November – Symposium for legal practitioners
Autonomy and mental healthcare: a legal analysis
As an introduction to the Conference, the Symposium will lay out the theoretical and legal framework for protecting human dignity and freedom in mental healthcare.
It will consider opportunities to align national legislation regulating mental healthcare with international human rights law to protect human rights in practice and secure respect for autonomy in mental healthcare.
12:00 – 12:30 Opening of Symposium
12:30 – 13:30 Key principles in securing autonomy in healthcare
14:00 – 15:30 Human Rights and autonomy in mental healthcare
16:00 – 17:00 Towards human rights based approach in mental health: National legal challanges
14 November – Conference Promoting autonomy in mental healthcare practice
The conference will showcase promising examples of practices that promote the respect for the autonomy of persons with mental health issues, with a view to raising awareness and supporting efforts, in Council of Europe member states, that favour approaches that are person-centred and value personal choices and decision-making.
All too often, it is argued that resort to coercion or involuntary measures in mental healthcare is necessary, albeit in exceptional circumstances and as the last resort, by lack of alternatives. The conference will give a voice to mental healthcare practitioners who strive to implement a human rights-based approach to care and are dedicated to reducing restrictive practices, showing that a different approach is possible. It will also look at how these practices can and must be supported by education and training, monitoring, and awareness-raising activities.
Drawing on the relevant experience of national and international stakeholders, including practitioners from different countries and backgrounds, the event will provide a privileged platform for exchanges, with the aim of identifying possible actions and tools which would contribute to the further development and application of human rights-based responses in the provision of mental healthcare in the member states of the Council of Europe, and beyond.
Session 1| Opening
Session 2| Setting the scene: the long-standing necessity to strengthen the protection of persons with mental health issues
Session 3| Ensuring respect for autonomy in the provision of mental healthcare: selected good practices
Session 4 | Education and Training
Session 5 | Awareness raising and monitoring
Session 6 | Closing