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EASPD, TENENET and SocioFórum, with the support of the WHO, invite you to join us for our International Conference: 'Guaranteeing Choice and Control: Transforming Mental Health and Psychosocial Disability Support'. Hosted in Bratislava, Slovakia on 20th-21st May 2024, our upcoming conference seeks to address the critical issues which stem from a mental health system that is rooted in a medicalised paradigm and will explore how we can move towards the provision of person-centred, community and recovery-based mental health services rooted in human rights principles.

In addition to the conference, EASPD members can also attend the Member Forum meetings (on the 16-17-18October) and the General Assembly (19October).

Working language of the conference: English.

Real-time captioning: provided during all plenary sessions and selected workshops.

English to Slovak (and Slovak to English) translation will be provided.

Conference Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Bratislava, 27/A Trnavská cesta 831 04, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Conference Hashtags:#ChoiceAndControl 

Registrations will open 25 June.

The conference is co-hosted by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), TENENET, SocioFórum and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) represents the interests of over 20,000 social care and support service providers for persons with disabilities across 41 countries.

Tenenet is a Slovak organisation whose work encompasses providing employment and social services for disabled individuals, implementing legal protection for children, fostering educational programs, collaborating with domestic and foreign partners on projects, and functioning as an association of citizens.

SocioFórum is a Slovak umberella organisation bringing together NGOs in the social field that support people at risk of social exclusion. Their members provide social services, social and legal protection of children, and employment services for persons with disabilities.

The World Health Organization is the United Nations specialised agency that connects nations, partners and people to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable – so everyone, everywhere can attain the highest level of health.

Rationale of the conference

Although our understanding of mental health and psychosocial disability has been growing, many individuals continue to receive poor quality care and suffer human rights abuses within a mental health system rooted in a medicalised paradigm. This outdated perspective insists on diagnosing, treating, and curing mental health conditions without sufficiently considering the broader context or acknowledging the societal factors influencing an individual's well-being. Coercive practices, forced admissions, and compelled treatments persist as forms of restraint and seclusion, highlighting the urgent need for a transformative shift.

Our upcoming conference seeks to address these critical issues and promote a human rights-based approach to mental health and psychosocial disabilities. At the heart of this approach is the recognition and respect for individuals' right to make decisions about their own well-being. To achieve this, we need person-centred, community and recovery-based mental health services rooted in human rights principles.

Organised collaboratively by EASPD, TENENET, SocioFórum and supported by WHO this conference invites active participation from individuals with lived experiences, service providers, policymakers, researchers, and various stakeholders. Together, we aim to critically review existing frameworks; key principles of human-rights, person-centred, community-oriented, and recovery-based mental health services; address challenges of practical implementation and service delivery.

Following this holistic approach, this conference will essentially cover three main angles; definition, practice and legislation. In particular, the objectives of this conference will focus on:

  • Clarify Guiding Principles: Delve into the foundational principles of mental health, firmly rooted in a human rights-based approach, to provide clarity and direction.
  • Incorporate Service Providers' Perspectives: to address the challenges faced by service providers in the field, ensuring that their views are taken into account and advocated at European and national levels.
  • Showcase Practical Tools and Good Practices: identify tangible tools and good practices that translate abstract guidelines into actionable initiatives.
  • Reinforce Legal Frameworks, Funding, and Supportive Policies, as well as Advocate for broader strategies to comprehensively integrate mental health approaches across sectors.

By fostering dialogue, collaboration and the exchange of practical ideas, our conference aims to lay the foundations for a more inclusive and effective mental health service delivery system. Together, let us promote a mental health system where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and a genuine commitment to their well-being.