Human Rights Council 41st Session Right to enjoyment of highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

1 July, 2019

https://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/HRC/41/34

Human Rights Council

Forty-first session 24 June - 12 July 2019

Agenda item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,political, economic, social and cultural rights,including the right to development

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Summary

In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 33/9, the Special Rapporteur elaborates on the critical role of the social and underlying determinants of health in advancing the realization of the right to mental health. The Special Rapporteur outlines important opportunities and challenges associated with a human rights-based approach to actions on the determinants needed for mental health promotion. He argues that good mental health and well-being cannot be defined by the absence of a mental health condition, but must be defined instead by the social, psychosocial, political, economic and physical environment that enables individuals and populations to live a life of dignity, with full enjoyment of their rights and in the equitable pursuit of their potential. The Special Rapporteur highlights the need for and States’ obligations to create and sustain enabling environments that incorporate a rights-based approach to mental health, and which value social connection and respect through non-violent and healthy relationships at the individual and societal levels, promoting a life of dignity and well-being for all persons throughout their lifetimes.

1. The promotion and protection of the right to mental health and well-being is a priority area for the Special Rapporteur (see A/HRC/29/33). In previous reports and other activities, the mandate holder has brought mental health into focus as a human rights and development priority. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur highlights the importance of the social and underlying determinants of health in advancing the realization of the right to mental health. He uses a mental health promotion framework that emphasizes the importance of improving well-being for everyone including, but not limited to, persons with intellectual, cognitive, psychosocial or other disabilities. A rights-based approach to the promotion of mental health offers an alternative to the biomedical, disease-oriented model that adopts a narrow, individual focus on the prevention of mental health conditions. He highlights the need for and States’ obligations to create and sustain specific conditions that promote a life of dignity and well-being for all. [...]

HIFA profile: Eileen McGinn is a Consultant at SASA in the United States of America. Professional interests: women's health, reproductive health in Africa and South Asia. qedeileen AT gmail.com