Critical elements of rights-based supports for individuals experiencing significant emotional distress: a call to action

Peter Stastny, M.D.

With nearly one hundred years of community mental health in the rear view mirror this presentation aims to extract and delineate a set of elements that have proven to be critical in providing effective and rights-oriented support to individuals at risk for potentially life-disrupting experiences. Distilling such elements from approaches that provide alternatives to traditional community mental health programs, we will make a case that a wide variety of subjective engagements and methodologies have been ignored in favor of instrumental, and often institutional practices that do not advance inclusion, and put people at risk of disempowerment, stigma and medicalized coercion. Situating these elements at the core of any reconceptualization of crisis supports can be considered a foundation for a radical redesign of community supports.