Every person has the right to the highest attainable level of mental health and the right to make their own decisions.

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For far too many people living with a mental health condition, good quality, rights-based mental health support is inaccessible. This is often down to a lack of modern, rights-based legislation. They are also often excluded from community life and denied basic rights such as shelter, food and clothing, and face discrimination in employment, education and housing due to mental disability. Many people with psychosocial, intellectual or cognitive disabilities in countries across the world are also experiencing violence, abuse and coercive practices. 


At United for Global Mental Health, we believe that strong, progressive and enacted, rights-based mental health legislation and policies are needed to ensure that all people are protected against violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect and coercion.

Our work includes

Suicide decriminalisation

Globally 800,000 people die by suicide every year. This is a global epidemic that affects all regions, with over 79% of suicides occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan of a person and is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally. At least 20 countries currently have laws and punishments for attempting suicide. There is a lack of research on the implications of this legislation across each country where it is criminalised. Our work on suicide decriminalisation seeks to provide the research base for this topic through the development of a report and campaign for the repeal of legislation. 

French Ministerial Summit

The French government hosted the 2021 Ministerial Summit on mental health, following summits organised by the UK government in 2018 and by the Dutch government in 2019. The 2021 summit had the theme, “Mind the Rights.” It brought together both the domestic and health community, and the foreign affairs and international aid communities, and included a specific focus on rights. At United for Global Mental Health, we represented global civil society in the planning for the summit and contributed to the organisation of a workshop on accelerating action on mental health. We have previously provided strategy support to the UK and the Dutch governments in the planning and delivery of their ministerial summits, and we will continue to support the planning of the next ministerial meeting in 2022 with the Government of Italy.

Speak Your Mind

Speak Your Mind is a global citizen-led partnership with one collective purpose: progress for mental health in every nation. Partners have identified human rights as an essential area of focus for their advocacy work, and we are proud to support them in this. They have seen first-hand the lack of quality mental health services and abuses and violations people with psychosocial disabilities often face. By raising awareness amongst policymakers, health professionals, and services users, assessing national mental health services, and mobilising the public through online campaigning, we are working with Speak Your Mind partners to ensure that mental health services are of high quality and that service users are treated with dignity and respect. You can find out more here

QualityRights Initiative

QualityRights is a global initiative of the WHO to improve quality and care in mental health services and to promote rights of those with mental health conditions and disabilities. At United for Global Mental Health, we encourage our national and global partners to take part in this initiative, especially the e-training on mental health, human rights and recovery. We have supported the WHO's launching of a new Guidance on Good Practice Community Mental Health Services by facilitating discussions with CSOs, global NGOs, and WHO country and regional offices to develop informed dissemination tactics for the report and technical guidance packages to ensure better uptake. You can find out more here.