Human Rights Violations High Among Individuals with Mental Health Issues

Human rights are specified in different ways throughout the world, but globally human rights mean that individuals receive equal treatment in all areas of life. This includes education, housing, career, and healthcare opportunities. However, research suggests that people with mental health issues, and particularly those in developing countries, are not being treated equally with respect to human rights.

The deinstitutionalization of psychiatric care in recent decades has led to more informal caregiving. The majority of people who take on the role of caregiver for someone with mental health concerns are family members. Therefore, they may be especially able to provide a perception of human rights violations for those in their care, namely, individuals with mental health issues.

Vijayalakshmi Poreddi of the College of Nursing at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India chose to survey caregivers and individuals with mental health issues to find out how they perceived their human rights were being violated as a result of having psychological health problems. Poreddi interviewed 200 nonsymptomatic psychiatric clients and their primary caregivers and asked them about discrimination related to housing, jobs, income, education, and medical treatment.

The results revealed that in general, the caregivers perceived higher rates of human rights violations than the clients did. The perceived violations that both groups reported happened across all domains of living. Specifically, 83% of the caregivers reported that their clients did not get career opportunity information and that career discrimination against those with mental health concerns was common. Additionally, 87% of the caregivers and 84% of the clients reported experiencing or witnessing community and social discrimination.

Perhaps even more startling was the fact that 75% of the caregivers said that community members ignored discriminatory practices, bullying, and stigma-related slurs against people with psychological health problems, and 51% said that their complaints about such actions went unanswered. When asked about homelessness, which is an increasing problem among people with mental health issues worldwide, nearly three quarters of caregivers and clients said they have witnessed individuals who had psychological problems living on the streets. This is an especially concerning problem for women, as homelessness increases risk of being a victim of sexual or physical assault.

Poreddi said, “These findings reflect the negative attitude of the community towards people with mental illness,” and adds that global efforts to reduce human rights violations must be increased.

Poreddi, Vijayalakshmi, et al. (2013). People with mental illness and human rights: A developing countries perspective. Indian Journal of Psychiatry 55.2 (2013): 117-24. ProQuest. Web.

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • niki


    June 8th, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    How disheartening that after all this time and all the progress that has been made that there are still people who face this sort of stigma and discrimination on a day to day basis.

    Haven’t we as a whole learned that this is our world and that to make it a better place there has to be more love, peace and acceptance?

    You get so much farther in life with homey not vinegar, and yet there are still people whose main goal in life is to hurt one another.

  • Phil


    June 9th, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    It is rightly pointed out that these are an abuse of human rights.Just because a few individuals have disorders or conditions does not mean they do not have a stake to claim their basic rights!

    The perpetrator here is the society in general and the practice of violation runs deep.It is therefore imperative that this is a concerted effort towards awareness and thus reduction in such violation of human rights.

  • P.T


    June 9th, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    We all abuse their rights,don’t we?!think about it-whether it was a comment we passed or the ignorance we carry every day,we do it quite often.

    And the only way to get rid of it?by talking about it!talking helps so much,in dispelling wrong beliefs and in clearing the path to a better talk and learn and spread good thoughts.that’s the way forward.

  • layla


    June 10th, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Pretty pathetic that the ones who are so often abused are the ones who are often the least able to stand up for themselves and the rights that any of us deserve as humans.

  • Linda


    June 12th, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    More education&awareness needs to be addressed at hospitals&clinic ER´s for these people also.
    When coming in with a physical complaint or pain they deserve the same respect, trust& belief from the physician as any other patient not showing any meds or “condition” on their chart receives.

  • Michael


    December 7th, 2014 at 9:39 PM

    My rights were terribly abused in a Hospital. I was abused physically and mentally. And every right i had was taken from me. They put me on so much medicine i almost died. The doctors were very crooked and only cared about taking and collecting my medicaid and mefivare insurance. They are forcing me under a commitment every year without me even going to court or having an. attorney. The System is so corrupt i may have to move away just to get my. Health back.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.