Discrimination in Mental Health Sector
Discrimination of persons with mental disorders is widespread in New Zealand society. Practice of discrimination in areas such as education, court proceedings, property ownership, medical insurance cover and acquisition of driver’s licence is common. The government working with non-governmental organizations continues to advocate for the rights of this group. The New Zealand government has ratified United Nation’s plan on persons with living with disability. This ratification together with other strategic plans has enabled New Zealand makes progress towards eradication of discrimination against people with mental health disorder. This paper looks at the frameworks through which the government under the health ministry, District Health Boards and the Non-governmental Organizations seek to lower discrimination of people living with mental disorder in New Zealand.
Discrimination in Mental Health Sector
This paper provides an analytical review of discrimination in the mental health sector in New Zealand. The first part provides an analysis of values, extent and size of, not for profit sector. The essay seeks to show the scope of discrimination in the lives of persons with mental health illnesses especially on such areas as work stations, legal proceedings, when looking for health insurance coverage, renting apartments, in educational institutions and when looking for driver’s license. Discrimination of mental health patients in New Zealand cuts across different racial, social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The impact of discrimination on mental health patients differs basing on their background. Elimination of discrimination stems first from an acknowledgment that discrimination exists. In the case of mental health patients under compulsory treatment orders, such recognition is problematic as the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 often subsumes provisions of civil rights of consumers. Mental health professionals usually think of their decisions and behavior towards consumers in terms of specialist knowledge of illness and the treatment required and not in the framework of human rights (Mental Health Commission, 1997). Such perception by health specialists towards mental health leads to discrimination against their patients. The second part of the paper highlights mechanisms that the government use to deal with discrimination in the health sector. One of the essential campaigns started to fight discrimination in the mental health sector is the ‘Like Minds, Like Mine’ program (2000). The program has continued to promote mental health, reduce stigma and discrimination among communities through media (Rosen, Goldbloom & McGeorge, 2010). The Policies that are for reducing the health inequalities of different population groups are a key principle of the New Zealand Health Strategy. The Ministry of Health’s National Mental Health Standard demands all mental health service provider to encourage mental health and society acceptance of people affected by mental disorders and other mental health problems (Stevens, 2003). The contributions of the Not-for-profit organizations towards eradication of discrimination in mental health in New Zealand are well acknowledged. These organizations continue to play an important role in mental health sector by providing support to people who have mental health and addiction problems. Such support enables them live a healthy life anywhere in the country. Nongovernmental organizations in mental health sector work with clinical staff and government agencies to end stigma and discrimination towards people living with mental illness in society. Nongovernmental organizations working in New Zealand have gone as far as helping people living with mental illness get housing, work and education (Peters, 2010). In its conclusion, the essay will give a summary of issues...
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