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WHO MiNDbank and QualityRights

21-11-2014
© CBM/Julian Eaton
Robinah Alambuya, President of the Pan-African Network of People with Psychosocial Disabilities, speaking at the launch of the QualityRights toolkit

Natalie Drew, Technical Officer with the World Health Organisation outlines the progress made a year after MiNDbank was launched and explains the work of the WHO QualityRights Project, both of which are supported by CBM.

Important Initiatives by the WHO

In response to the dire human rights situation faced by people with psychosocial disabilities around the world, the World Health Organization, with financial and technical support from CBM, has launched two important initiatives; WHO MiNDbank and the WHO QualityRights Project. These projects support countries to improve their mental health policies, strategies, laws and services in line with international human rights standards and promote the development of civil society movements in countries to advocate for and participate in mental health reform.

WHO MiNDbank; what is it and how can it be used?

MiNDbank, launched in December 2013, is a new online platform, which provides quick and easy access to international resources and national level policies, strategies, laws and service standards for mental health, substance abuse, disability, general health, NCDs, human rights and development, and more recently children and youth, and older persons.   MiNDbank aims to facilitate debate, dialogue, advocacy and research in order to promote national reform in these areas, in line with international human rights and best practice standards.

Users of the platform can read summaries of all documents in the original language and also in English. They can download the document directly from the platform or access the document through a website link provided. The search functions of the platform allow users to specify multiple criteria in searching for resources in the MiNDbank including in multiple languages.
WHO MiNDbank has been developed for use by a wide range of audiences and stakeholders including:
•    Mental health, disability, health policy makers and planners
•    Legislators and parliamentarians
•    Mental health, disability, health & human rights advocates, NGOs and DPOs
•    Academic and research centres
•    Training centres
•    Health and mental health workforce

There are many uses of MiNDbank including:
•    For policy, law and service development: Through the MiNDbank countries are able to review a huge range of policies, strategies, laws and services from different countries around the world prior to developing or reforming their own. In addition, countries can access the key WHO guidance material and international and regional human rights standards to assist the reform process.
•    For research: There are many possibilities to generate new knowledge about policy development, implementation, effectiveness and impact, since all the policies, strategies and laws are available for review and analysis.
•    For advocacy: MiNDbank can help stakeholders understand the current situation and gaps in order to develop appropriate messages at the international and national levels.
•    For training and clinical practice: Institutions and clinicians have easy access to information about the policy, legal and human rights context and requirements for professional conduct and practice.

WHO QualityRights

The WHO QualityRights initiative was launched in 2012, as part of the drive to promote the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities, promote high-quality services in the community and strengthen the capacity of civil society actors to advocate for change.

The specific objectives of QualityRights are to:
•    Assess and improve service quality and human rights conditions in mental health and social care services
•    Build capacity among people with psychosocial disabilities, families and health workers to understand and promote human rights and recovery
•    Develop a civil society movement of people with psychosocial disabilities to provide mutual support, conduct advocacy and influence policy-making in line with international human rights standards.
•    Reform national policies and legislation in line with best practice and international human rights standards.

As part of QualityRights, WHO has prepared the QualityRights Toolkit. Drawing from the UN CRPD, the Toolkit sets the key quality and human rights standards that need to be met in all mental health and social care facilities and provides guidance on how to conduct an effective assessment, report findings and make recommendations to end violations and improve quality and human rights in facilities.

The tool kit is designed for use in low-, middle- and high-income countries. It can be used by many different stakeholders, including dedicated assessment committees, NGOs, national human rights institutions, national health or mental health commissions, health service accreditation bodies and national mechanisms established under international treaties to monitor implementation of human rights standards and others with an interest in promoting the rights of people with disabilities.

The QualityRights project and Toolkit have been implemented in diverse countries to date, including Asturias (Spain), Greece, Somaliland, Palestine and others. In India, the project is being undertaken on a wide scale throughout the State of Gujarat. Assessments of facilities are currently underway, to be followed by the development of human rights and recovery oriented improvement plans. With CBM funding, WHO is also developing a training package to build knowledge and capacity on human rights and quality issues among health staff, service users and families. In addition, peer support groups for service user and families will be established throughout Gujarat, in order to provide mutual support, build skills and knowledge on recovery and self care, and facilitate access to community resources including housing, employment, legal, educational and other services. As per the methodology of QualityRights, each step of the project is being undertaken collaboratively with people with psychosocial disabilities, families, health professionals and other key stakeholders. 

For additional information please visit the WHO QualityRights website:

For more information on MINDbank or QualityRights please contact:
Dr Michelle Funk, Coordinator: funkm@who.int
Ms Natalie Drew, Technical Officer: drewn@who.int
Ms Trish Robertson: robertsonp@who.int  

Mental Health Policy and Service Development
Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse
World Health Organization
Geneva, Switzerland


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