Global Mental Health Peer Network
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The Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN) is a global mental health care user organisation working to ensure that the “voices” of persons with lived experience with mental health conditions throughout the world have the platform to share their experiences, views, opinions and perspectives in a well-established and sustainable structure. GMHPN’s promotes a human rights-based approach within an operating framework focused on empowerment, recovery and peer support – where lived experience is the driving force behind destigmatization, quality of life, equality and equity.
GMHPN developed from the successful initiatives of Movement for Global Mental Health, a virtual network of individuals and organisations operating from rotating global secretariats in Australia, India, and South Africa since 2007 to improve services for people living with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities worldwide. It is from this solid foundation that GMHPN was launched in 2018 to create a more extensive, globally diverse mental health community and cadre of leadership to enhance the value of sharing initiatives and experiences. GMHPN underpins all of its work through the promotion of international treaties and human rights instruments, and accountability measures under domestic laws, to emphasize the importance of protecting and respecting the rights of persons with lived experience.
The GMHPN is built on the premise of an integrated and holistic response to mental health care and services. It incorporates medical, social and human rights models to advocate and promote knowledge on mental health conditions that affect individuals in all aspects of their lives and at all stages of life. This approach critically emphasizes the multidimensional aspects of mental health conditions and societal challenges that cannot be addressed in isolation as a medical problem.
The GMHPN strongly supports and advocates a person-centered and recovery approach to mental health care and services. It is challenging the paradigm of medical traditions and institutional care models that have subjected individuals with mental health conditions to severe human rights violations, developed structures of societal segregation, and denied the inherent human dignity and voice of this community.
Although the approach to mental health has evolved over time and deinstitutionalisation has been successfully implemented in several countries, there remains a critical lack of transformation that still inhibits large populations from adequately accessing appropriate community-based and evidence-based interventions. This is due, in large part, to the lack of political commitment. However, a strong, vibrant, and committed movement of persons with lived experience has successfully started to challenge these systematic abuses, serving at the forefront of a worldwide advocacy agenda to drive change.