June 2008-October 2009
Including Issues of Mental Disabilities in Policy Makers’ Agenda
The project had two objectives. The first one was to examine the progress regarding the implementation of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Declaration and Plan of Action in Latvia. This came as a consequence of the fact that in January 2005 in Helsinki health ministers from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) European region signed the Mental Health Declaration and Action Plan for 2005-2010. By signing both documents, each country, including Latvia, undertook the obligation to implement the guidelines enshrined in the documents in order to facilitate the improvement of mental healthcare.
The second one aimed to lobby for the need to sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. The target groups of this project were health professionals, policy-makers and users of mental health care services.
The report on WHO Mental health Declaration and Action Plan in Latvia is available here http://zelda.org.lv/wp-content/uploads/file/REPORT-86lpp-10dec-2.pdf.
To fulfil the second objective of the project ZELDA undertook a series of activities aiming at raising awareness among disability NGO’s and policy makers on the need to join the UN Disability Convention and its Optional Protocol. One of them was to organize a seminar-discussion on June 11 2008 for policy makers and non-governmental organizations entitled “Should Latvia Sign and Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities?”.
ZELDA has reached its goal since Latvia signed the Convention on 18 July 2008 and ratified it on 1 of March 2010. The Optional Protocol to the Convention was also ratified on 31 of August 2010.
January 2009-October 2010
Development of Advocacy for Users of Mental Health Care Services in Latvia
The aim of the project was to promote advocacy and respect for rights of users of mental health care services through activating civil society. Its activities were directed towards capacity rising of several target group such as: users of mental health care services, professionals of justice system (judges, prosecutors and sworn advocates), NGOs. They were also intended to promote dialogue with health care policy makers.
Within this project the following activities were implemented:
-the publishing of 3 newsletters (April and October 2009, May 2010;
-the establishment of a cooperation network of 10 organizations dealing of mental disability advocacy issues and users of mental health care services;
-the organization on 17 April 2009 in cooperation with RAKUS Patient Ombud Office and the Public Health Agency and Active Citizenship Network of the Patients’ Rights Day;
-the organization on 28 of May 2010 of a training seminar for professionals of judicial system – judges, prosecutors and advocates-on issues concerning involuntary admission, informed consent and legal capacity in light of internationally recognized human rights standards;
-a research paper on alternative conflict resolution methods between patients and hospital personnel;
– a handbook on peer advocacy for users of mental health care services;