Mental Health and Human Rights: The Role of the Law in Developing a Right to Enjoy the Highest Attainable Standard of Mental Health in Australia

Journal of Law & Medicine, Vol. 15, p. 773, 2009

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009/31

12 Pages Posted: 5 May 2010

See all articles by Bernadette M. McSherry

Bernadette M. McSherry

Melbourne Social Equity Institute; Melbourne Law School

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights requires governments to recognise “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. However, the traditional focus of mental health laws on the treatment and detention of those with low-prevalence serious mental illnesses may have skewed resources such that the development of a right to mental health for all individuals with mental illnesses has been stymied. In Australia, a number of inquiries and reports have found that while legislation has been changed to comply with human rights principles, access to mental health care and follow-up post-hospitalisation need critical attention. This article outlines a five-year project aimed at exploring how mental health laws can help develop and support a right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of mental health.

Keywords: Mental Health, Human Rights, Australia, right to mental health, role of law

JEL Classification: K00, K3, K32, K39

Suggested Citation

McSherry, Bernadette M., Mental Health and Human Rights: The Role of the Law in Developing a Right to Enjoy the Highest Attainable Standard of Mental Health in Australia (2009). Journal of Law & Medicine, Vol. 15, p. 773, 2009; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009/31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1599383

Bernadette M. McSherry (Contact Author)

Melbourne Social Equity Institute ( email )

Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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