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Policy and methodological publications

Mental Health, Human Rights and Legislation: Guidance and Practice


09 October 2023


Health and disability

This joint publication by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) aims to support countries embarking on legislative reform related to mental health. With a focus on the transformation of mental health systems and the promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights, dignity, autonomy, and inclusion for all, it offers practical advice to align laws, policies and practices with international human rights obligations and the development of person-centred care and support, taking into account gender, age, cultural acceptability and other considerations that safeguard human rights. Developed through extensive research and consultations, its key chapters cover the need for reform, principles and provisions for legislation, and a rights-based process. A practical checklist assists in assessing and developing legislation, while ensuring flexibility for countries to tailor efforts to specific national and local contexts. This resource is intended for legislators, policymakers, health professionals, monitoring and evaluation authorities and advocacy groups, among others.


Published jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and OHCHR

Print format:

A4 soft cover