How to prevent people from experiencing belittlement and discrimination due to mental health difficulties?

Categories: Talks and IdeasPublished On: 2023 May 2

“Every person throughout their life can experience mental health difficulties, and one in four experiences a mental health disorder. It is a human and meaningful experience, and no one should face a discrimination or belittlement because of that. It is also crucial for individuals with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities to live a fulfilling life and have services based on human rights principles,” says Aurelija Auškalnytė from the non-governmental organization “Mental Health Perspectives”.

This organization is one of nearly 200 non-governmental organizations in Lithuania that recieved funding for human rights, citizenship, or community projects under the Active Citizens Program of the EEA Financial Mechanism. The total value of the four-year program, managed by the Open Lithuania Foundation, amounts to 9.6 million euros. 

 “Mental Health Perspectives” states that, despite increasing opportunities for individuals with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, society is not ready to accept them, and the services offered lack human rights principles. Therefore, the organization has set a goal to find and run pilot projects on possible solutions.

It means community trainings on mental health literacy in various regions of Lithuania, assessment of the social services provided in shared living homes identifying gaps in human rights and proposing ways to address them. In simple terms, the organization made every effort to promote a greater sense of humanity in providing services to individuals with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, while aiming for a more open and friendly attitudes.

Here are a few tips of ethical approach to mental health:

  • Aiming to speak in an open yet respectful and accurate manner about mental health issues or psychosocial disability, one should avoid belittling words, dramatic phrases, battle metaphors, epithetes “normal” and “healthy,” and expressions related to diagnoses used in the field of mental health currently or in the past.
  • The recommendation is to follow the principle of “person-first,” use formulations such as “a person with experience on mental health difficulties”, and facilitating the expression of individuals who have encountered mental health challenges.

More about the actions taken, please watch the video: