Human Rights Competencies for Service Providers

Sarah Knutson

Medical model illness discourse has dominated conventional mental health understandings for decades. The cultural permeation is now so complete that many people assume that ethical mental health practice and human rights standards are synonymous. Not only healthcare providers, but also those who provide disability-related services – like housing, benefits and advocacy – are affected.

This workshop will explore the following issues through combination of infographics, applied examples, short exercises and group discussion:

  1. What is human rights competency?
  2. Where do these standards come from and why are they important?
  3. Are the attitudes and ethics of conventional healthcare practices consistent with human rights?
  4. What difference exist and what are the implications?
  5. What might be the impact, if any, of increased attention to human rights competency on service outcomes and public safety?

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Define human rights competency.
  • Give three reasons that human rights competency is important.
  • List three human rights competencies.
  • Identify three ways that the attitudes and ethics of human rights and conventional healthcare currently differ.
  • Give a concrete example of how attention to human rights competency potentially furthers the stated goals of services that participants receive or provide.