View all news

It's time for change. Dr. Judy Laing marks World Mental Health Day 2016

Dr. Judy Laing

Press release issued: 10 October 2016

In her latest blog the Law School's Dr. Laing highlights that mental disorder is among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide - and how being involved in decision making on mental health policy could hold the key to change.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental/neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Approximately 450 million people in the world are suffering from the condition at any one time. 

The WHO has urged governments to move away from large mental institutions and towards health care in the community. Governments must also ensure that mental health care is well integrated into the general health care system. Whilst many Western governments have adopted this de-institutionalisation approach, treatment facilities and standards in many countries, especially in the developing world, are still woefully inadequate.

Indeed, the WHO reports that more than 40% of countries have no mental health policy and a quarter of countries don’t even have any form of mental health legislation or regulation of mental health care. Added to this is the troubling fact that mental health services across the globe are continually under-funded: 33% of countries spend less than 1% of their total health budgets on mental health care/services. (data available at

These statistics paint a very gloomy picture of mental health provision across the globe. The consequences of this chronic underfunding are that the dignity and rights of many people with mental ill health are not respected. In her latest blog, Judy asks what can be done to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from a mental ill health, and looks at the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as providing a glimmer of hope for the future to promote dignity and respect for patients with mental disability. Read more.

Further information

Judy Laing's recent research with colleagues at the Law School and Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Bristol examines the experience of disabled people’s organisations in trying to bring about change and influence government decision making in line with the Convention of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Funded by the Brigstow Institute, the project team have been working with representatives from the Bristol Disability Equality Forum to identify strategies for disabled people to work with local and national government to bring about change.

In particular the team has been developing guidance and an advocacy toolkit for disabled people to influence decision making, helping people affected by mental/neurological disorders take some small steps towards making the Convention a reality.

This research will be showcased at the Launch of Brigstowe in Action taking place at the Wills Memorial Building 2pm - 5.30pm. Feel free to drop in. 

Edit this page