The World Psychiatric Association (WPA), a global organization representing nearly 250 000 psychiatrists, urges ALL Governments to ensure that persons with mental illness/mental disability/mental health problems are not discriminated against based on their mental health status, and are treated as full citizens enjoying all rights on an equal basis with other citizens.

The WPA supports the efforts of the international community as expressed through various international human rights Covenants and Conventions, and, more particularly, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The WPA reiterates that persons with mental illness/mental disability/ mental health problems have the capacity to hold rights and exercise their rights and should, therefore, be treated on an equal basis with other citizens. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Right to accessible and affordable mental and physical healthcare;
  2. Right to live independently in the community as other citizens;
  3. Right to work and opportunities to work and protections at work, including affirmative action, as available to other citizens;
  4. Right to adequate income to meet their basic needs for food, housing, clothing and other basic necessities;
  5. Right to accessible, integrated, affordable housing;
  6. Right to training and education as available to other citizens;
  7. Right to freedom of movement and removal of restrictions on free travel.
  8. Right to own, inherit, and dispose of property, and to be provided adequate support to exercise this right;
  9. Right to marry, have and adopt children, and raise families, with additional support when required;
  10. Right to determine their future and make their own life choices;
  11. Right to vote and be elected to public office;
  12. Right to be recognized as equal before the law as other citizens, and the right to full protection of the law;
  13. Right to be free from cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment, and punishment;
  14. Right to confidentiality and privacy; and
  15. Right to participate in the cultural and social life of the community and practise a religion of their choice.


The author is President of the World Psychiatric Association and has no conflicts of interest to report. The author alone is responsible for the content and writing of the paper.


Grateful thanks are due to Soumitra Pathare, Helen Herrman, Kenneth Appelbaum and Julio Torales, as well as the Executive Committee of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), for their input.
Dinesh Bhugra
World Psychiatric Association, Geneva, Switzerland

Please find attached the 'WPA Bill of Rights for People with Mental Ilness' pdf