Informed, engaged communities for health

Filter by Categories
#PHAAThinkTank2023
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
National Health and Climate Strategy
#HealthyCOP28
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
Healthcare sustainability
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#GreenHealthForum23
#hpsymposium2023
#NMS23
#HEAL2023
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#Lowitja2023
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
#CroakeyLIVE #DigitalNationBuilding
#CroakeyLIVE #VoiceForHealth
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
fossil fuels
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
MyMedicare
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
cohealth
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Artificial intelligence
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Human rights
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Legal issues
Australian Centre for Disease Control
VicHealth
Health literacy
Health communications
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Filter by Categories
#PHAAThinkTank2023
Aged care
Budgets
Federal Budget 2023-2024
Federal Budget October 2022
Federal Budget 2022-23
Federal Budget 2021-22
Budget2020Health
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2019-20
Climate and health
National Health and Climate Strategy
#HealthyCOP28
Climate emergency
Heatwaves
Healthcare sustainability
#CoveringClimateNow
#HealthyCOP27
#HealthyCOP26
COVID collection
Long COVID
COVID-19
COVIDwrap
COVID SNAPS
#JusticeCOVID
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey Conference News Service
#GreenHealthForum23
#hpsymposium2023
#NMS23
#HEAL2023
#ASMIRT2023
#NSPC23
Our Democracy Forum
#AskMSF
#Lowitja2023
#16nrhc
#GreenHealthForum22
#Heal2022
#ICEM22
#NAISA22
#NNF2022
#RANZCP2022
#RethinkAddiction
#RTP22
Choosing Wisely National Meeting 2022
Equally Well 2022 Symposium
GiantSteps22
Croakey Professional Services
NHLF series
#KidneyCareTogether
ACSQHC series
ACSQHC series 2022
ACSQHC series 2021
ACSQHC series 2020
ACSQHC series 2019
CATSINaM 25 Years
Croakey projects
#CroakeyLIVE #DigitalNationBuilding
#CroakeyLIVE #VoiceForHealth
The Health Wrap
ICYMI
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2023
#CroakeyVOICES
#SpeakingOurMinds
Croakey longreads
#CroakeyREAD
CroakeyEXPLORE
#PHAAThinkTank 2022
Summer reading 2022-2023
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
Determinants of health
Environmental determinants of health
Social determinants of health
Discrimination
Racism
Justice and policing
Poverty
Newstart/JobSeeker
Education
Housing
Internet access
Justice Reinvestment
Social policy
Commercial determinants of health
fossil fuels
Alcohol
Digital platforms
Food and beverages
Sugar tax
Tobacco
Vaping
Plain packaging
Gambling
Pharmaceutical industry
Arms industry
Disasters and extreme weather events
Disasters
Extreme weather events
Bushfires
Bushfire-emergency 2019-2020
Floods 2023
Floods 2022
Floods 2021
Floods 2011
Donor-funded journalism
Donor-funded journalism – 2023
Donor-funded journalism – 2022
Donor-funded journalism – 2021
Donor-funded journalism – 2020
Elections
#NSWvotesHealth2023
Victorian election 2022
Federal Election 2022
The Election Wrap 2022
#QldVotesHealth
SA election 2022
WA election 2021
Tasmanian election 2021
First Nations
Indigenous health
Uluru Statement
The Voice
Community controlled sector
Cultural determinants of health
Cultural safety
Social and emotional wellbeing
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
WA community closures
Acknowledgement
#CTG10
#NTRC
#RCIADIC30Years
General health matters
Consumer health matters
Cancer
Cardiovascular disease
Chronic conditions
Non communicable diseases
Diabetes
Oral health
Disabilities
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
Genetics
Medical marijuana
Mental health
Suicide
Trauma
LGBTQIA+
HIV/AIDS
Women's health
HRT
Abortion
Men's health
Youth health
Child health
Pregnancy and childbirth
Organ transplants
Pain
Sexual health
Infectious diseases
Influenza
Mpox
Swine flu
Death and dying
Euthanasia
Global health matters
Global health
WHO
Conflict and war
Asylum seeker and refugee health
#WorldInTurmoil
Ebola
NHS
Health policy and systems
MyMedicare
Health reform
Workforce matters
Health financing and costs
Health regulation
Strengthening Medicare Taskforce 2022
Co-design
TGA
Royal Commissions
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
Private health insurance
Healthcare
Primary healthcare
cohealth
Social prescribing
Rural and remote health
General practice
International medical graduates
Primary Health Networks
NDIS
Nursing and midwifery
Australian Medical Association
Allied healthcare
Pharmacy
Paramedics
Pathology
Naturopathy
Hospitals
Emergency departments and care
Palliative care
Safety and quality of healthcare
Adverse events
Choosing Wisely
Co-payments
Out of pocket costs
Complementary medicines
Conflicts of interest
Health ethics
Digital technology
Telehealth
E-health
Equally Well
Health Care Homes
Medicare Locals
MyHospitals website
Screening
Surgery
Tests
Media and health
Media-related issues
Public interest journalism
Misinformation and disinformation
Social media and healthcare
Health & medical marketing
The Conversation
Media Doctor Australia
News about Croakey
Public health and population health
Artificial intelligence
Public health
Prevention
Health inequalities
Human rights
Health in All Policies
Health impact assessment
Legal issues
Australian Centre for Disease Control
VicHealth
Health literacy
Health communications
Vaccination
Air pollution
Physical activity
Sport
Obesity
Road safety
Transport
Gun control
Illicit drugs
Injuries
Marriage equality
Occupational health
Violence
Weight loss products
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
Government 2.0
Web 2.0
Nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
Research matters
Health and medical research
#MRFFtransparency
Evidence-based issues
Cochrane Collaboration
Health and medical education
NHMRC
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2021
2021 conferences
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#FoodGovernance2021
#GiantSteps21
#GreenHealthForum21
#HealthClimateSolutions21
#HearMe21
#IndigenousClimateJustice21
#NNF2021
#RANZCP2021
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
2020 conferences
#2020ResearchExcellence
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#SAHeapsUnfair
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
Croakey Professional Services archive
#CommunityControl
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
#COVIDthinktank21
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects archive
#CommunityMatters
#CroakeyFundingDrive 2022
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyLIVE Federal election 2022
#CroakeyYOUTH
#HousingJusticeAus
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
#LookingLocal
#OutOfPocket
#OutOfTheBox
#RuralHealthJustice
#TalkingTeeth
@WePublicHealth2022
@WePublicHealth2021
@WePublicHealth2020
AroundTheTraps
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer reading 2021-2022
Summer reading 2020-2021
Summer Reading 2019-2020
Summer Reading 2017-2018
Summer Reading 2016-2017
The Koori Woman
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2019
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Budget 2017/18
NZ Election 2017
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Election 2016
#HealthElection16
NT Election 2016
Federal Budget 2015-16
Qld Election 2015
NSW Election 2015
Federal Budget 2014-15
Victorian Election 2014
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Election 2013
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Election 2010
Federal Budget 2009-2010

On Human Rights Day, some global challenges, recognition for champions, and calls for safer mental health systems

Introduction by Croakey:

Rampant poverty, pervasive inequalities and structural discrimination are human rights violations and among the greatest global challenges of our time.

Addressing them effectively requires measures grounded in human rights, renewed political commitment and participation of all, especially those most affected.

We need a new social contract which more fairly shares power, resources and opportunities and sets the foundations of a sustainable human rights-based economy.”

These are among the calls to action from the United Nations in marking today (10 December) as Human Rights Day, commemorating that day in 1948 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – the most translated document in the world.

This year, the UN is calling for an end to vaccine inequality, a human rights-based economy that supports better, fairer and more sustainable societies for present and future generations, and for urgent action to “respect, protect and fulfil” the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

The UN says human rights have the power to tackle the root causes of conflict and crisis, by addressing grievances, eliminating inequalities and exclusion, and allowing people to participate in decision-making that affect their lives.

“Societies that protect and promote human rights for everyone are more resilient societies, better equipped through human rights to weather unexpected crises such as pandemics and the impacts of the climate crisis,” it says.

“Equality and non-discrimination are key to prevention: all human rights for all ensure everyone has access to the preventive benefits of human rights but, when certain people or groups are excluded or face discrimination, the inequality will drive the cycle of conflict and crisis.”

Human Rights Day is also an opportunity for recognising those whose work across many spheres contributes to greater equity; in Australia, the Human Rights Medal has been awarded to academic, author, filmmaker and broadcaster Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt – Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney.

Read more about others who’ve been recognised here.According to the authors below, Human Rights Day is also a day for considering how to address violations of human rights for those experiencing traumatising mental health systems – including through structural changes to promote the influence of people with lived experience as experts.

Simon Katterl is a human rights and regulation consultant, with his own lived experience of mental health issues, and Tim Heffernan is a lived experience peer worker and advocate.


Simon Katterl and Tim Heffernan write:

Human rights week is important for people who access the mental health system. Each December is a time to focus on human rights. Mostly, in Australia we look outwards to focus on human rights violations.

Increasingly though, we’re beginning to look at ourselves and the way we treat people in our own country.

How can we ignore the harms that we and our governments cause Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees, women, and the elderly to name just a few?

There is also a growing awareness of the need to focus on the human rights violations experienced by those who live with the stigmatising labels applied to people who have been diagnosed with ‘mental illness’.

Twelve years ago, in 2009, the Australian Government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Disability (CRPD). It is an international human rights treaty that requires us to radically transform our understanding and response to disability and to mental and emotional distress.

Part of this radical transformation should have been the elimination of all forms of forced treatment (see CRPD General Comment 1), except that the Australian Government made an interpretive declaration stating that it believes forced treatment complies with the CRPD.

Unfortunately, at present, all Australian state and territory laws continue to permit forced treatment.

What do these laws and mental health systems look like in practice? People with lived experience of mental health issues of course have diverse experiences, but overwhelmingly they describe the use of force as harmful and traumatising.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System found evidence of this time and again. In a depressingly common account, a woman providing evidence about her experiences in an inpatient unit, explains:

I was too scared to raise it with them. Talking to the other patients, I was told that ‘if you say no, you will just stay longer’. So, I took the medication that left me sedated and drooling.”

Others described being pepper sprayed by police and restrained in a bed without treatment on their eyes. These are experiences of control rather than care. They are human rights violations that are made legal by mental health laws.

This ongoing application of control erodes trust in systems and one’s equal citizenship in an ostensibly liberal and egalitarian community.

For example, someone described their traumatic relationship with the mental health system:

[T]he system impresses itself upon you and imprisons you. You can’t think from the medication. People stop calling your phone. Relationships are gone. Your life changes. Your person is dead.

But you are meant to go on pretending that everything is normal. And you never have any choice about the matter. It’s an invisible and symbolic prison.

Victoria is not alone in identifying the issue. Danius Puras, the former UN Special Rapporteur on physical and mental health reported that this was in part the result of:

…power imbalances that lead to biased use of evidence, a lack of investment in rights-based policies and services, and overreliance on coercive, punitive and overmedicalized measures.”

Radical change

It is important to note that while these systems permit the use of force, they do purport to provide basic rights and minimum standards. Unfortunately, these are breached with such regularity as to be appear illusory. Mental health systems must heal trauma, not cause, or compound it.

To do that radical change is needed. On one level this change is structural.

The National Mental Health Commission has been tasked with developing a new National Strategy to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination towards people who experience mental ill-health or distress and those who support them. We hope that this process will tackle human rights issues and give them national attention.

At another level, radical change requires building alternatives. Alternatives that adopt an understanding of distress as reflective of complex social and psychological factors.

The thing is, people with lived experience of mental and emotional distress have, for decades, offered these alternatives (often unfunded!).

The Lived Experience (Peer) workforce is an alternative to ‘illness’ based interventions. The Lived experience work force grew out of the Mental Health Consumer Movement and so has its values and principles embedded in human rights and social justice.

It is an approach whereby a person uses their personal experience of mental health challenges, service use or periods of healing and/or recovery to support someone who may be going through similar experiences. While other disciplines provide a focus on assessment and intervention, lived experience (peer) work focuses on mutuality, reciprocity, and meaning-making.

It is a “professional” discipline in its own right, with the Commission last week releasing the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Development Guidelines.

Such an approach supports people’s mental health and wellbeing, but it is also crucial in addressing stigma and human rights violations.

Acknowledging people with lived experience as experts and placing them in expert-roles is an action that will reduce stigma and discrimination, and promote human rights.

Simon Katterl (he/him) is human rights and regulation consultant, with his own lived experience of mental health issues

Tim Heffernan (he/him) is a lived experience peer worker and advocate.


See Croakey’s archive of stories on human rights and health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by: Categories or tags