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Governments, Advocacy Groups Must Continue Efforts To Improve Treatment For, Rights Of Mentally Ill

“In many poor and developing countries, thousands of mentally ill people are warehoused in dirty and dangerous institutions,” freelance writer John Rudolf writes in a New York Times opinion piece. “Institutionalization is just one facet of the broader catastrophe of mental health care in the developing world,” he adds. “Government and humanitarian funding to treat the most severely afflicted is almost nonexistent … [b]ut governments that have put their minds and money to the task can make a difference,” he states. “Recent developments suggest that a turning point on institutionalization may be at hand,” Rudolf writes, and he uses Guatemala as an example of one country making progress. “[A] global effort will be required to expose abuses and shame governments into enacting serious reforms. If and when that fails, international human rights law can and should be used to compel action. Governments and international advocacy groups must also elevate public awareness and dispel myths and prejudices about the mentally ill,” he concludes (11/1).