WAPR Action Plan
When the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic hit many countries in the first months of 2020, the WAPR was consolidating its presence in the world.
Despite its limited financial resources, there were active engagement of professionals, people with lived experiences and family members and friends. This contributed to WAPR activities means of digital and hybrid conferences, training initiatives, innovative projects, and a constant dialogue with the protagonists of mental health.
The pandemic put everything on stand-by and forced us all to wonder about our future.
An important event was the WAPR World Congress held in Abu Dhabi in December 2021, organised as a hybrid congress. This was followed by the elections and General Assembly held in March 2022. Since then, our numerous national branches have shown that they are more than capable of rewiring the networks that had been built up over time.
The aims of this medium-term Action Plan are manifold:
it will provide the WAPR organization with the opportunity to share our knowledge and opinions in drawing up the guidelines that will govern our future programme, in line with the multi-professional and democratic approach that characterises the WAPR
it will mark the end of a period of uncertainty and operational difficulties, and the beginning of a new era of self-confidence inspired by an awareness that, having overcome a challenging crisis, we possess the enthusiasm and resources to further our principles and commit to achieving important goals:
increase reputation of WAPR
organize conferences and training programs to disseminate innovative experiences and key knowledge in PSR
strengthen human rights in mental health services
fight social stigma as an obstacle to achieving a satisfying life
strengthen the users’ and family members voice
support local developments in community mental health services
About 30 countries participated in the 2022 on-line elections, and these will soon be joined two others. The WAPR is growing and now needs to review its organization and the best way of achieving its aims.
One crucial organizational question is whether identifying specific regional pathways could improve the way in which the decisions made by the Board are transmitted and implemented by the regions.
Psychosocial rehabilitation is closely related to local social and cultural traditions and conditions: each region has its own history, and the differences between them merit respect. In order to make the most of the specificity of a region’s scientific and cultural heritage, it is necessary to consider the relationship between contextual factors and the fundamental principles of PSR.
The relationship between general proposals and local programs can be improved by establishing a working group consisting of Gabriele Rocca (chair), Regional Vice-Presidents (RVPs), one user representative from each region identified by its RVP, Vice-Presidents, and the Secretary General.
These would discuss and promote the following proposals:
- present regional situations with particular emphasis on local aspects and the role of the WAPR
- present proposals that can be implemented in various Regions
- present proposals of local interest
- organize regional conferences
The mental health systems of many low-, middle- and high-income countries are hampered by hospital-based practices that cannot meet the needs of people struggling with mental health conditions and therefore require profound changes.
The direction is clearly indicated by the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and especially by the Article 19, which affirms the right of everyone to obtain the highest standard of healthcare without any form of discrimination in all areas of social, cultural, political, and working life. Community Mental Health Services (CMHC) should to provide person centered care that give people access to a high-level services and social integration.
CMHC must offer support that help people to acquire autonomy, decision-making power and having control in their own lives.
Respecting the principles of human rights established by the CRPD as a fundamental part of mental healthcare activities requires us to rethink the way in which rehabilitation practices are carried out in the community and critically redefine the role of institutions and the power relationships between the various subjects involved in this field. We also need to facilitate knowledge and practices based in human rights.
However, it must never be forgotten that the primary right is the right to exercise all rights and the full respect of everyone’s inherent dignity.
The WAPR HR Committee under the guidance of Michaela Amering has provided some programmatic indications:
- continue and strengthen collaboration with the WHO in order to affirm the essential link between PSR and the implementation of the legal obligations included in the UN’s CRPD;
- collaborate with the WHO on the use of QualityRights e-learning as a means of training in order to improve the quality of care;
- promote initiatives aimed at collecting information concerning the way in which the UN’s CRPD influences mental health systems in different regions (laws, guidelines, training courses, meetings);
- promote regional meetings aimed at discussing respect for human rights;
- promote and share the mental health experiences of users;
- promote and share updated knowledge and best-practice experiences in citizenship and human rights.
Involving people with lived experiences and their families
The involvement of people with lived experiences and their families in mental health services is a qualifying aspect of the WAPR’s activities that should go beyond social protection and the recognition of fundamental rights. People experiencing disabilities are usually protected and cared for, but must become rights holders in order to ensure their social inclusion, as well as their access to high-level social and health services.
Involving people with lived experiences is a necessary step toward allowing their greater participation in all aspects of healthcare. There is a need for real acknowledgement of lived experiences as an equal knowledgebase in mental health. The result would be improved treatment outcomes and more appropriate services that adequately respond to peoples’ needs.
Our commitments are:
- to fully involve users and their family members in all WAPR bodies;
- to facilitate the representation of users and their family members in the institutions that plan and assess mental health services;
- to promote and support associations of users and their family members by means of initiatives at social and mental health service level;
- to establish a committee that will:
- suggest initiatives that foresee the participation and influence of users and their family members as protagonists;
- draw up programmatic and policy documents that highlight the promotion of community mental health and the full involvement of users and their family members.
The dedicated commitment of Marit Borg and her editorial team has allowed the Bulletin to achieve important results over the years. Our aim is to confirm them and enhance this status of the Bulletin within and outside the WAPR.
Quality improvement strategies:
- include representatives from service user and family members in the editorial committe;
- brief reports concerning the projects and concrete activities of organisations and people throughout the world, including branches and regional Vice-Presidents;
- tailor the content of The Bulletin to the action plan of the time;
- define a reference system and structure for articles;
- carry out the procedure to obtain the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).
The next World WAPR Congress will be held in Vancouver from 29 September to 1 October 2025.
The local organizing committee led by Victoria Huehn is already working on creating a successful event in accordance with the values of our association.
The following committees are confirmed:
- Human Rights
- Constitutional amendments
- Training and Research
Based on the proposal of a member of the Association, other committees can be activated after approval by the Executive Committee.