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The Centre for Mental Health, Human Rights, and Social Justice

The Centre on Mental Health, Human Rights, and Social Justice is dedicated to the study of the ways in which mental health law, policy, and practices engage the spectrum of human rights. Our aim is to serve as a central accountability hub that uses a human rights approach to critically interrogate the status quo in mental health. Additionally, we aim to promote a transformative vision of mental health that places the lived experience of those most directly affected at its core. This global research consortium fulfills its mission through the following pillars of work:

  1. Mental health futures: We collaborate with regional and local activists and psychosocial disability advocates to support transformative advocacy and rights-based approaches to mental health.

  2. Policy lab: We collaborate with governments and NGOs to support and expand policy mandates that promote rights-based approaches to mental health. In particular, we support initiatives that challenge market-based approaches to mental health.  

  3. Research hub: We conduct original research that broadly aims to shift from the current biomedical paradigm used to describe mental health to approaches that fully integrate human rights in mental health policies and practices (e.g., providing evidence-based and theoretically grounded critiques of medicalization and solutions for reform). 

  4. Observatory: We provide a critical lens from which to view global, regional and national developments in mental health (e.g., analyses of ways in which UN human rights system engages with mental health, assessing the ways in which overseas development assistance may undermine the right to mental health, developing a robust global mental health coercion database, analyses of the ways in which organizations’ conflicts of interest, and commercialized science more generally, may be undermining rights-based approaches to mental health).


We collaborate with scholars, activists, and policymakers in order to centralise and promote new perspectives for a holistic approach to understanding and responding to mental health.  As a multi-disciplinary academic consortium, we bring together lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical anthropologists, decision-makers, and people harmed by outdated systems and approaches to mental health to highlight and discuss innovative new approaches, emerging evidence, and networks.

Mad In America


Mad in America’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for rethinking psychiatric care in the United States (and abroad). They believe that the current drug-based paradigm of care has failed our society, and that scientific research, as well as the lived experience of those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, calls for profound change.

Mad in America publishes a webzine,, that provides news of psychiatric research, original journalism articles, and a forum for an international group of writers—people with lived experience, peer specialists, family members, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, program managers, journalists, attorneys, and more—to explore issues related to this goal of “remaking psychiatry.”

Many BEAHR Lab members are Science Writers for Mad in America. Check out their profiles here!

Mad In America
Center for Mental Health, Human Rights, and Social Justice
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