This project was funded between January 2019 and March 2020.

  • Project led by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, in partnership with the British Institute of Human Rights.
  • Focusing on empowering mental health patients by supporting staff to respect and protect their rights in everyday decision-making and service delivery.
  • Will produce tools to enable changes to staff practice and leadership, to embrace new ways of thinking and doing, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of a human rights approach.

One in four people are affected by mental health issues. While many receive good care, a worrying number of people have a negative experience. A recent survey raised specific concerns about respect for people’s human rights, with almost 80% of people receiving mental health care feeling their rights were not enforced as effectively as people with physical illness.

Recovery in mental health is aided by community support which helps those affected to retain hope. This can be successfully achieved through a human rights-based approach which ensures real choices, dignity and respect.

This project will involve Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust implementing a recovery approach that puts the person’s rights at the centre, and in doing so improves the quality of care provided. It builds on pilot work between the Trust and the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) to support the early intervention team to improve human rights knowledge.

The intervention will be delivered by the BIHR, who will develop a tailored learning and development programme. Two teams will test the tools. 

Leadership training will be rolled out to all managers and team leaders; a rights-based flowchart will be produced, which guides staff in risk assessment and intervention decisions; and a patient pocket care guide on human rights and mental health treatment will be produced and distributed. 

An awareness session about the intervention will be held to engage the wider community, including support services and patient and carer groups.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Sarah Jay, Equality and Diversity Lead, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust.

About this programme


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