Core Concepts of Human Rights and Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups in the National Mental Health Policies of Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, India, and Liberia
Keywords:Human rights, mental health policies, policy analysis, social inclusion, vulnerable groups
AbstractBackground: Policy analysis is a powerful tool to ensure that policies are rights-based and socially inclusive. The primary aim of this study was to assess the level of commitment to core concepts of human rights and the inclusion of vulnerable groups in five national mental health policies across low-, middle- and high-income countries. Methods: Policy documents were evaluated using EquiFrame, a systematic policy content analysis framework. Policies were examined with regards to their coverage of 21 core concepts of human rights (Core Concept Coverage), their quality of commitment to these core concepts (Core Concept Quality), and their inclusion of 12 vulnerable groups (Vulnerable Group Coverage). An Overall Summary Ranking was also assigned to each policy with regards to it being of High, Moderate, or Low quality. Results: Each of the polices scored high on Vulnerable Group Coverage and Core Concept Coverage, although there were notable omissions. All policies, with the exception of Ireland, scored below EquiFrame’s criteria for Core Concept Quality. The Irish policy produced a High Overall Summary Ranking; while the Liberian, Kenyan, South African, and Indian policies each received a Moderate Overall Summary Ranking. Conclusion: All policies received their lowest scores for Core Concept Quality, signifying a need for policy-makers to ensure specific policy actions and monitoring mechanisms to address human rights in mental health policies. EquiFrame offers a constructive tool for mental health policy analysis in relation to core concepts of human rights and inclusion of vulnerable groups, which are considered key in successfully realising the Sustainable Development Goals.
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