© G. Koffi Attati / HI
Based on the experience of the 4 countries of the Touching Minds Raising Dignity (TMRD) program, it is clear that the social participation of mental health projects' beneficiaries needs to be improved in all of the intervention countries (Madagascar, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Togo).
People in psychosocial distress or suffering from a mental health disorder are stigmatized and perceived as sick people who need to be cured through a mainly curative-focused care, whether it be traditional or conventional. Their rights are flouted and little known by society but also by these beneficiaries themselves who, in the end, have little to no involvement in the decisions that affect them.
Through building the capacity of mental health projects' beneficiaries, the TMRD program aims to improve their social participation - in communities, within health services and at governance level - by promoting individual support, networking and the creation of beneficiaries groups. In a perspective of empowerment, the program supports the transition of beneficiaries into actors capable of participating in public and political decisions and, thus, advocating for the application of their rights. However, it is still necessary to know them upstream, and this is what these two awareness-raising tools presented here aim to address!
In order to foster their learning, understanding and application, these tools focus on 8 rights of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), carefully selected from the experience of people living with mental health conditions and who regularly see them being challenged.
While the target audience is indeed the mental health service user - in order to inform him about his rights - these tools are necessarily aimed at a wider audience in order to raise awareness about the issue and help preventing the systemic stigmatization and exclusion of people living with a psychosocial disability and/or a mental health disorder.
We invite you to use these tools within the framework of awareness-raising activities in the communities (for example during animations on World Mental Health Day...) but also as a playful support for capacity-building activities for civil society actors, community workers or health professionals.