Why do we need them?

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.

These, and many other issues facing people affected by mental health issues, were first discussed under the Rights for Life banner at the landmark 2015 national event.