The Issues


While people affected by mental health issues have the same rights as other members of Scottish society they face significant barriers in realising them.

These barriers are well known and widely documented.

People with experience of mental health issues:

  • Face unacceptably high levels of stigma and discrimination.
  • Can die 20 years younger, are poorer on average and have fewer opportunities in life than the general population.
  • Can have their rights legally limited as a consequence of poor mental health and laws designed to protect their rights are ignored with impunity.
  • Are excluded from decision-making processes that affect their lives.
  • Are denied access to timely, acceptable, quality care and support.

Often Scottish institutions often don’t know they are breaching people’s rights when they fail to treat people with dignity and respect. But people also don’t know they have these rights, or don’t know how to access them.

At the 2015 Rights for Life event, hundreds of delegates and over 60 guest speakers took part in panel discussions, showcases and debates, covering a vast array of topics. These looked at the problems faced by people affected by mental health issues, as well as solutions-focused approaches to help overcome the barriers they face. Some of these issues are covered in more detail at the links below.

Following the 2015 Rights for Life event, consultations on the draft Rights for Life Declaration and Change Agenda also covered many of these issues.