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Mad In Asia

Mad In Asia—Inclusion & Psychosocial Disabilities

Þ inclusion—is a tool and goal to move beyond medical, peer, or recovery models, which end up separating us from, rather than changing the world.

Þ psychosocial disabilities—describe the experiences of people with impairments and participation restrictions related to mental health conditions. You might want to readthis  easy read version of the UN CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

Þ Using psychosocial is also a way to connect to the broader disability movement.

Þ Mad In Asia and TCI Asia are great sources of new ideas, learning and advocacy


TCI Asia (Transforming Communities for Inclusion of persons with psychosocial disabilities) is an independent, regional Disabled People’s Organization (DPO) focusing on the monitoring and implementation of all human rights for persons with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities. We are guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). TCI Asia foresees a future in which all human rights and full freedoms of persons with psychosocial disabilities are realized. Our contribution to the realization of the CRPD is by focusing intently on the pedagogy and the practice of Article 19 of the CRPD (Right to Living Independently and being Included in Communities) in Asia. We advocate for the practice of Inclusion and dream to see it manifest in all national policies and laws of the Asian region. //

From ‘user survivor’ to ‘person with psychosocial disability’: Why we are ‘TCI Asia’

We, in Asia, have taken the CRPD to our hearts because of its inspiring vision of an inclusive world for all. The CRPD is a smoothie of traditionally given human rights, in a format that makes it taste fresh, healthy and new. The framing of human rights changed with the CRPD – ‘reasonable accommodation’ customized human rights to the dictum that “A person is a person, no matter how small.” A smoothie made of several rights – Articles 12 (Right to legal capacity), 14 (liberty), 15 (freedom from abuse, violence and exploitation), 16 (freedom from cruel, inhuman degrading and torturous treatments), 17 (integrity) and, the mother of them all, 19 (Living independently and being included in communities) – was heady. They predicted that forced treatment in all settings would end; and in many places, would never begin. Violence everywhere against persons with psychosocial disabilities would end.

We were eager to understand Article 19 because all other roads seem to end here:  A person needs to be living in a place of choice; with people who they care to live with; having access to all kinds of general and specific services and community based systems of support; on equal basis with others. However, pedagogy on Article 19, when compared to Articles 12 (legal capacity) or 14 (Liberty and security), is very limited, even non-existent. Legal traditions anywhere in the world, have prescribed what should not happen. But notions like human connection, support, care, community etc., which bring people together as a human society, have not been explicated within law. Since family members are, frequently enough, the perpetrators of violence against persons with disabilities, there was deep mistrust and skepticism about evoking any notion of ‘care’ or ‘community’ in the north country context. South country low income experiences, however, were more ambiguous in their responses to family, and open in terms of willingness to dialogue but also transform social relationships.

TCI Asia is interested to promote imagination as well as investments on community based inclusion practices for their heuristic value, and for realizing Article 19 for persons with psychosocial disabilities. By now, TCI Asia has established that traditional mental health treatment will not lead to inclusion, rather the opposite will happen. ‘Recovery’ will not lead to inclusion; ‘Peer support’ in the way it is delivered within the medical paradigm will not lead to inclusion. These are all silos, occurring within the epiphany of ‘mental illness’ and its ‘treatment’. Further, actions for the human rights of liberty and legal capacity will not result in inclusion, as those actions are silos too.

Inclusion is a broad range of collaborative actions in local communities, addressing the capacity building needs of everyone. For a person to be included, the world around them must be transformed to be inclusive. Reducing the existing barriers and enabling communities to start to include are the expected outcomes from inclusion programs. Inclusion is an everyday practice which requires transformative learning cycles within families, within households, within communities and neighbourhoods. Good practice examples do exist in the context of Asia.

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