Future of psychiatry is discussed in the context of modern human rights principles, evidence-based policies and sustainable development goals.
After international community agreed on sustainable development goals to be reached by 2030, there is a good opportunity to address mental health as a priority and to substantially invest in promotion of mental health and emotional well-being.
Psychiatry, as an influential specialty, needs to reconsider its strategy in this context, and to rethink strengths and weaknesses of its role and image.
Protection of dignity and human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities, in the post-CRPD framework, should become a priority for psychiatry. Common ground for search of a new consensus between different views on non-consensual treatment in psychiatry could be equilibrium within the principles of “first, do no harm”, “right to treatment” and “no hierarchy within human rights”. For mental healthcare practice, this would mean that good intentions to provide evidence-based interventions do not justify the use of force and deprivation of liberty which threatens dignity and universal human rights principles.
Psychiatry, while rethinking future directions, should critically reconsider its current focus on neurobiological paradigm and tradition of using force in the name of medicine and social control. These two paradigms, traditionally perceived as strengths of psychiatry and sources of its power, are now too often misused and increasingly discussed as lacking evidence, ignoring human rights and thus threatening image of psychiatry. Instead, psychiatry could consider accepting post-CRPD challenge as a unique opportunity for change, through strengthening strategic alliance with human rights mechanisms, social sciences, general and community medicine, modern public health approach and users’ perspective.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.