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SouqBiblio: international annotated bibliography number 8

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Benedetto Saraceno


1) European platform against poverty and social marginalization

For the first time, the goal to reduce poverty was defined in a quantitative way within the framework of a European Union (EU) strategy. The goal of the european flagship Platform initiative against poverty and social exclusion of Europe 2020 is "to guarantee economic, social and territorial cohesion in order to improve awareness and recognize the fundamental rights of those people who are the victims of poverty and social exclusion, allowing them to live in a dignified way and to actively partecipate in society". In particular, it includes a series of actions aimed at helping the Member States to reach the objective of the EU to help at least 20 million people out of poverty and marginalization within 2020. The Committee of the Regions has made an assessment of this situation in a conference held in Brussels (may 2013). This is the fourth of a series of events and monitoring initiatives that the Committee of the Regions is organizing in view of the mid-term review of Europe 2020. Although the average rate of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the EU has remained relatively stable in the last few years, it presents notable variations between age groups and Member States. In the last three/four years this rate has risen sharply in different countries: while it stands at below 20% in some countries such as Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg, it has recently touched 47% in Bulgaria, 40% in Latvia and 31% in Greece (2011). Furthermore, significant divergences exist between different regions of the Member States. Currently, the inhabitants of about a fifth of the regions of the EU are particularly exposed to risks of poverty and social exclusion. The european Platform against poverty and social exclusion contributes to the objective of Europe 2020 that consists in the realization of an inclusive growth, together with the flagship initiative. In particular, it contributes to the realization of the principal objective of Europe 2020 that consists in freeing at least 20 million people from the threat of poverty and social exclusion. Regional and local authorities of the EU are responsable for about a fifth of the total public expenditure intended for protection and the social services, and they therefore play an important role in contributing to the achievement of goals posted by the flagship initiative.

2) World Health Organization, Draft Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020, WHO, Geneva 2012d

On May 27th of 2013 the General Assembly of the World Health Organization made up of 194 Ministers of Health of the member countries approved the Action Plan for mental health for the years 2013-2020. The Plan identifies the main directions of government action in the public mental health field giving a special emphasis to the promotion and defense of the rights of psychiatric patients. It reaffirms the centrality of the territorial mental health services and the responsabilities of the mental health systems in the areas of residence and social support. The Plan indicates specific actions and indicators for evaluating how to set them up and their degree of implementation in individual countries. The member countries have pledged by 2020 to increase the coverage of mental health services by 20% and to reduce the rate of suicide by 10%.

3) United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E.Méndez, UN, New York 2013.

In february 2013 the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Juan Méndez, presented a report on torture and other punishments or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments,
(United Nations, 2013). The report pays considerable attention to the notion of ill-treatment namely treatment that is damaging, indicating by this expression medical treatments or measures adopted in healthcare environments that, despite supposed good intentions, have the characteristics of a violent imposition on an individual and amount to a behaviour comparable to torture. For the first time the report evokes the topic, dear to many psychiatrists, of "medical necessity" (a topic that was evoked by indian psychiatrists who want the law to recognize the right for them to practice electroshock without anaesthesia under conditions of medical necessity, namely the availability of an anesthesiologist). The United Nations Report is not ambiguous on this point and states that "notwithstanding claims of good intentions by medical professionals, psychiatric treatments imposed on people with psychosocial disabilities are to be considered discriminatory treatments. The Report states that "the Doctrine of medical necessity continues to be an obstacle to protection from arbitrary abuse in healthcare environments"( see paragraph 35). And subsequently that "the imposition of any form of isolation whatever its length of time, on a person with a mental disability is to be regarded as a cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" (see paragraph 63). And finally that "It is essential that all coercive and non consensual measures, including restraint and isolation applied to individuals with psychological or intellectual disabilities, should be absolutely forbidden from all places where it is necessary to withhold freedom comprising psychiatric and welfare institutions. An environment where the patient has no authority and where forms of restraint and isolation of disabled people are used, can lead to other coercive treatments such as electroshock or enforced medication" (see paragraph 63).
This recent report places a serious threat to the legal as well as moral legitimacy of the customary practices of the great majority of psychiatric institutions from around the world.
Once more one has to ask oneself why professional associations of psychiatrists are ready to fight against the stigma imposed by society on individuals who suffer from mental and behavioral illnesses but remain silent regarding the convention of the United Nations in 2006 and the report of the Special Rapporteur in 2013.

4) NIMH-Director's Blog-Post April 29,2013

The director of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) of the United States, Thomas Insel, one of the most prestigious authorities in neuroscience, writes in his blog on the 29th april 2013 that «despite the DSM - the psychiatric diagnostic manual most widely used in the world - described also as the Bible of this discipline, in fact at best it is a dictionary that has created first a series of labels and then given them a definition"). This is a very radical statement that rejects the scientific claim of the psychiatric diagnosis: "This is why NIMH will redirect their own research beyond the diagnostic categories of the DSM" writes Insel in his blog. What strikes one most is the fact that while in the past the radical criticism of psychiatric diagnosis came from a minority of intellectuals critical of the whole epistemological and ethical system of psychiatry, currently an extremely critical stance is increasingly taken more often by leading figures in neuroscientific research.

5) Claire L. Pouncey, Jonathan M. Lukens: Madness versus badness: the ethical tension between the recovery movement and forensic psychiatry. Theor Med Bioeth (2010) 31:93-105

The drive to "recovery" encourages self-determination in psychiatric patients but the authors pose the question if this is not in contradiction with the request for mitigation towards psychiatric patients that have committed crimes. Are they psychiatric patients or citizens with the same responsabiity as others or is their judgement diminished by illness? The authors who are experts in forensic psychiatry question the contradiction between the notion of self-determination and that of a diminished responsability.

*If the texts of the articles, reports, and documents indicated by SouqBiblio are not found consulting the magazines mentioned, they can usually be traced through research on Google.



By the same authors:                Dancing the samba while piloting a jet plane   SouqBiblio: annotated international bibliography*  A Return to the Way leading to Happiness   Aporeia of empowerment  Deconstructing the paradigm of "migrant emergency"  Defend the ways of liberation  Describing reality but also changing it  Educate in complexity  Empowerment  Global health, local health: a paradigm of the failures of globalization   Health systems are not designed for the needs of citizens  Reject Ferocity, Not Migrants  Souqbiblio (number 1)  SouqBiblio: international annotated bibliography*  SouqBiblio: internazional annotated bibliography (number 6)  SouqBiblio: annotated international bibliography  SouqBiblio: annotated international bibliography  SouqBiblio: annotated international bibliography  SouqBiblio: annotated international bibliography  SouqBiblio: international annotated bibliography (number 5)  SouqBiblio: international annotated bibliography (number 3)  SouqBiblio: International annotated bibliography (number 7)  SouqBiblio: internazional annotated bibliography (number 4)  SouqBiblio: References (number 2)  The association Poverty - Mental Disorders and its implications for outcome and care provision   The Confusion to be managed  The paradigm of urban suffering  Time of Siege  Urban Resistance  Verbal violence and social paranoia 

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Center for urban suffering

The study centre wishes to study the phenomenon of urban suffering, in other words the suffering that is specific to the great metropolises. Urban Suffering is a category that describes the meeting of individual suffering with the social fabric that they inhabit. The description, the understanding and the transformation of the psychological and social dynamics that develop from the meeting of ...

Who we are

The Urban Suffering Studies Center - SOUQ - arises from Milan, a place of complexity and economic and social contradictions belonged to global world.Tightly linked to Casa della Carità Foundation, which provides assistance and care to unserved populations in Milan (such as immigrants legal and illegal, homeless, vulnerable minorities), the Urban Suffering Studies Center puts attention on ...


Centro studi Souq Management commitee: Laura Arduini, Virginio Colmegna (presidente), Silvia Landra, Simona Sambati, Benedetto Saraceno ; Scientific commitee: Mario Agostinelli, Angelo Barbato, Maurizio Bonati, Adolfo Ceretti, Giacomo Costa, Ota de Leonardis,  Giulio Ernesti, Sergio Escobar, Luca Formenton, Francesco Maisto, Ambrogio Manenti, Claudia Mazzucato, Daniela ...
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ISSN 2282-5754 Souquaderni [online] by SOUQ - Centro Studi sulla Sofferenza Urbana - CF: 97316770151
Last update: 26/11/2020

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