Consent & Refusal: Mental Health, Human Rights & the Law
When: Wednesday 11th January 2017.
Where: Institute for Lifecourse and Society, National University of Ireland, Galway.
We all take for granted that our refusal of medical treatment will be respected – but the lived experience of people with disabilities and many in the mental health system demonstrates that this is not always the case. For example, the medical system might respect the decision of a cancer patient to refuse chemotherapy, but deny the right of an individual who wants to refuse electro-convulsive therapy. This seminar explored how human rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) could be used to guarantee the right to consent to, and refuse, medical treatment – with a focus on lived experience in the mental health system.
The seminar featured presentations from people with lived experience of mental health systems and responses from international experts. A wide range of perspectives were represented with speakers from a variety of countries including Sweden, India, the US, Canada, Australia, Colombia and Kenya. Alongside the storytellers and respondents who presented on the day Tina Minkowitz delivered a presentation titled ‘Free and Informed Consent and the Right to Refuse Treatment’, Professor Rosie Harding spoke on consent and refusal from a UK perspective and the afternoon also included a panel discussion on practical examples of support at grass roots level with Reshma Valliappan, Maths Jesperson, and Fionn Fitzpatrick.