Human Rights Action (HRA), Center for women and peace education (ANIMA) and Mental Disability Advocacy center (MDAC), within the project “Beyond exclusion – effective rights for mental health patients” supported by the European Union through EU Delegation in Montenegro, will organize three public lectures on topics of mental health, social distance towards people with mental disabilities, as well as on the social movements that have influenced the process of deinstitutionalization of person with mental disabilities, such as the anti-psychiatry movement in Italy in the seventies. The aim of these lectures is to improve information and raise awareness on the rights and needs of persons with mental disabilities, including their reintegration into society.
According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will have a mental health problem at some point in their life. So, every fourth person suffers in a way that usually cannot share with others for fear that if he would seek for professional help and possible diagnosis he would be stamped and separated from the community. People with mental disabilities are in most countries excluded from the society to which they belong. This, according to the progressive approach of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities represents a violation of their human rights. According to its Article 19 every person has the right to live in the community, which means that institutions, even those of mental health care – are not a place to live. Multiple discrimination people are especially endangered. The general public neither knows nor wants to know about these people. Culture of stigmatization of which they are victims must be eradicated, and this is possible only through the study of the current situation, comprehensive public information and its sensitivity to this issue.
In this regard, three lectures are planned within the Special Psychiatric Hospital in Kotor. The lectures are intended both for the public and employees of the SPB Kotor, as a place of encounter and exchange of knowledge and experiences with lectures from the country and region, which would open a range of topics of importance to the treatment and rights of persons with mental disabilities. The fact that a public debates will be organized within the Hospital provides “crossing an invisible border”, which, as a rule, there are about closed institutions in which there are people with mental disabilities. Population of Kotor has over half a century of experience of social distance which is necessary to minimize by the humanization of interpersonal relationships that begins with new knowledge and willingness to talk and exchange.
The first lecture will be held by dr Lidija Vasiljević, psychologist, psychotherapist and educator of psychodrama on the topic: The stigmatization of people with mental disabilities, on Friday 18 November at 5p.m., in the hall of the Educational Center within the SPB Kotor.
The lectures are open for all interested parties. In particular, we encourage interested members of the community, family members of people with mental disabilities, professional and activist public and media representatives to, with their participation in the discussion, help to walls of prejudice that separate us become more permeable and less painful.