How Do Human Rights Relate to Mental Health and Addiction Issues?

Human rights have been central to fight crimes, mistreatment, and other atrocities against mankind. How do they relate to people with mental health and substance abuse problems?

Following the events of World War II, nations vowed to uphold human rights regardless of a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social status, or any other aspect of their background. The murder of millions of Jews, Romani, members of the LGBTQ community, and people with disabilities during the early to mid-1940s triggered an emphasis on how people should value the sanctity of human life.

On December 10, 1948, 56 countries participating in the United Nations agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Also called the International Magna Carta, the UDHR consists of 30 articles relating to human rights. The articles have several social, political, judicial, and economic implications, which include caring for each citizen’s mental health and substance abuse problems. 

Here are some ways that the UDHR contributes to protecting people with addictions and mental health issues.

Equal treatment

The first article of the UDHR states that we are born free and equal. No one should suffer from discrimination regardless of their race, gender, health, or any other aspect of their background. This part of the declaration encompasses one’s mental state or physical health.

As a person suffering from alcohol or drug abuse, you are free to seek medical care without discrimination of any kind. There are many options available for you, such as state-funded programs or private rehab. 

Right to privacy

As someone seeking care, you have the right to keep your personal information private. When entering a rehab facility, medical professionals are not allowed to share information about you as part of their confidentiality agreements.

Understanding this can assure you that you are safe and secure when finding help for mental health and substance use disorders.

Freedom of movement

People with substance abuse and mental health problems aren’t confined to seeking care within their community. They are free to travel to different locations to find the best addiction treatment that’s right for their needs.

Social security

Each citizen has access to government facilities and other institutions providing help for mental health and addiction issues. You have the right to access medical care, housing, education, and welfare programs, depending on your needs and what your respective government offers.

To further understand the scope of your health care coverage, you can verify your insurance with a high-quality rehab facility.

Perpetual rights

When you are a law-abiding citizen, authorities can’t remove your rights. You are free to access the resources mentioned above and to claim them when not provided accordingly. Knowing this can help you understand that seeking treatment isn’t just for the wealthy or privileged or those who have easy access to care. Substance abuse and mental assistance are for you and for everyone.

As we celebrate Human Rights Day, the hope is that we remember its relevance, not just in history but also in our personal lives. Human rights protect us and allow us to better ourselves.

Sources – United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights – What’s Medicare? – Human Rights Day

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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