Police and mental health services in low to middle income countries

I am undertaking a PhD looking at Section 136 of the UK Mental Health Act. Section 136 is a UK based directive which permits a police officer to legally remove a person from a public place, who the officer believes to be in distress, in need of immediate care and control and transfer them to a hospital place of safety. My work looks at how this provision works from the perspectives of all stakeholders involved (i.e. service user, carer, police, mental health professional and ambulance workers). Tied in with my keen interest in global mental health, I am interested in finding out how this works in low to middle income countries (i.e. Asia and Latin America of particular interest) especially from a trans cultural psychiatric perspective. It would be good to link with anyone who is involved in this type of work and/or has an active interest in this area.


Submitted by barryrichardson on 21 October 2013 - 2:13pm.

We have found different types of health act in different sector and here we are indicating that how police gets legal permission to remove a mental patient from a public place. Definitely we should recognize the role of human right organization in these circumstances but unfortunately to maintain a protective environment in the region police takes such decisions. We hope those mental patient are getting better care and treatment in hospitals instead of their community. In my point of view it is the better way to solve problems.


Submitted by andrew bayes on 3 July 2013 - 9:53am.

On which basis may that policeman to remove the "supposed mental health distressed" person from public places? Even if there's a low which permits that, the human rights are broken. The police may calm down that person bijuterii inox, but removing it from that place without its acceptance is a power abusing act of policeman.

andrew bayes

Submitted by waternut (not verified) on 10 March 2012 - 6:39am.

I am a doctoral student and I am completing my dissertation in similar topic. My chair forwarded this link to me and thought I would be interested in sharing some aspects with you. Although my topic is not around middle income countries, it is certainly in middle income state of the US, the state of Maine. Even though Maine has certainly some high income population, the police mostly is involved with middle to very low income population. I would be glad to dialog my findings with you and compare results with you if you are interested. Certainly the political struggles may be drastically different from other countries but nevertheless the barriers our officers face with indiviudals with mental health illness are exceeding their abilities and put extensive pressure and expectations on the officers on duty.

Beata Wiktor - 10 March 2012

waternut (not verified)

Statement from the Fourth Global Mental Health Summit

Nothing About Us, Without Us - Voices from the Global South

held on 28th-29th November 2015

The Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai hosted the 4th biannual Global Mental Health Summit (GMHS) between 28th and 29th November in collaboration with The Public Health Foundation of India, The Banyan and The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) as a part of the Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH). The MGMH was founded in 2008 to take forward the neglected agenda of mental health in the world, and has since been working to raise the profile of mental health through the global platform of an interactive website (www.globalmentalhealth.org) and the work of local activists in different countries. 

The biannual summits, held in different parts of the world for the past 4 years have presented an opportunity for multiple stakeholders from the mental health sector to come together, share experiences and learn from one and other.

The focus of this year’s two day Global Health Summit, themed “Nothing About Us, Without Us”, was driven mainly by persons living with mental health issues and disabilities, from different social, cultural and educational ecosystems. The summit was kick started by Prof Asha Banu, TISS who introduced the summit to the audience and put forward the agenda of the summit. Dr Manish Jha, Dean, School of Social Work, TISS extended a hearty welcome to all participants. Prof Vikram Patel, co-director, Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries, and adjunct professor at Public Health Foundation of India, India, took the stand next and spoke about the right to care and right to dignity for users of mental health and the need for users, caregivers and mental health professionals to come together and dialogue about the changes needed in the care and services globally. Dr Vikram Gupta, director, BALM addressed the audience and spoke at length about the need to cut across the many barriers faced in the care for mental health users.

Day 1 of the summit saw participation from users, service providers and mental health professionals who shared their experiences not only through dialogue but also using interactive mediums of dance, theatre, poetry and more. The day closed with the screening of the film Astu, which told the story of Mr Shastri, a retired Sanskrit professor who in due course suffers with Alzheimer's and goes missing. The second day of the summit started with a discussion on the film by veteran film and theatre actor Mohan Agashe and continued on to a panel discussion ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’ moderated by Tasneem Raja and Ketki Ranade where users shared their experiences of living with mental health issues and Mental health policy group member Mr Akhileshwar Sahay spoke about the need to have a single voice regarding mental health in the country in order to exact policy change at the national level. The second day also saw posters being presented by various stakeholders elucidating the many achievements and challenges in the field of mental health.

After a session of academic presentations by mental health researchers and professionals, the day came to a close on a positive note with a short presentation by girls from The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai who shared their experience of launching a school level peer-support group 'Reach Out' for students and adolescents dealing with stress, peer pressure, substance abuse, body image and more. It was followed by screening of the film ‘Come with me’.

The Way Forward:

This summit brought together a large number of users and caregivers who had previously no opportunity to attend or share in a summit of this magnitude. All organizers and participants unanimously agreed that this is only a first step in creating inclusive spaces in the mental health sector, and more such events and networking opportunities need to be organized by different stakeholders. In his valedictory session, Dr S Parasuraman, director, TISS also suggested that many such events should be organized across different regions by multiple stakeholders, in which TISS will be happy to participate. He emphasized the need for documentation of best practices and partnerships between academia and field to expand the human resources for mental health.

The participants were delighted to see new faces talk about mental health which was suggestive of wider participation. All in all the two day summit was a huge success and a truly global initiative that cut across borders and brought various stakeholders together for a common cause and saw involvement from across sectors, with participation from organizations working in sectors such as homelessness, trafficking, disability presented on mental health implications and relevance of mental health for their work.

On behalf of the MGMH: PHFI, The Banyan, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), & TISS