13 January 2014

Mental Health Europe’s “Bucharest Manifesto” sets out programme for change

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Brussels, January 13, 2014

Mental Health Europe’s “Bucharest Manifesto” sets out programme for change


Mental Health Europe (MHE), the leading independent, pan-European mental health NGO, has for two years been calling for wider recognition of the crisis of confidence in the increasingly biological/neurological approach taken by western psychiatry and for action to change the culture and practice of mental health services to take more account of the views, rights and lived experience of users of these services.

MHE set up an expert Task Force to investigate, debate and report on the development of DSM-5, its likely impact and on alternatives to wholly medical/biological psychiatry which are effective and which improve the lives and life chances of people with poor mental health. Now after its first 18 months work it has set out a manifesto for change.

At the conference “From stigma to inclusion- drivers of progress in the mental health field” Bucharest, Romania, October 2013, the Task Force first presented the manifesto, which was unanimously adopted by the meeting. It calls on organizations with power and influence in the mental health field to take actions which will move psychiatry and mental health services towards more effective treatments and a greater respect for the human rights of users. The manifesto is composed of eight simple, achievable points involving statutory bodies as the World Health Organization and the European Union, political bodies, practitioners, medical insurance companies, service providers and researchers, pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists.

None of the demands are new and our researches tell us that they are supported by many others in the field, but by bringing them all together for the first time MHE hopes to kick start a debate which will change the ways in which policy, research and practice in the mental health field are conducted.


The Bucharest Manifesto


Mental Health Europe calls on:

  1. The World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that the forthcoming revision of International

Classification of Diseases (ICD 10) takes fully into account the worldwide critique of DSM-5 and involves people with lived experience of mental distress as equal partners in its construction.

  1. Medical insurance companies, service providers and planners to abandon DSM-5 as the only source of criteria for access to treatment.
  1. The American Psychiatric Association to respond to its critics and in particular to abandon those new diagnostic categories which have no scientific basis and pathologise normal aspects of the human condition
  1. Pharmaceutical companies and research groups to register all trials on open access databases and make all their trial data freely available for re-analysis
  1. The European Union, national and local governments to pass “sunshine” legislation which makes public all payments made by pharmaceutical companies to practising clinicians, other providers of medical treatments and services and to consumer and relative organisations.
  1. Research bodies to prioritise research into positive mental health and psychosocial approaches to alleviating mental distress and to ensure that people with lived experience participate in research as researchers and experts as well as subjects
  1. Mental health practitioners to abandon psycho-surgery altogether
  1. In view of the latest concerns about the over-diagnosis of ADHD and risks to the developing brain from medication, MHE calls on psychiatrists to stop prescribing stimulants or other psychotropic medication as a first response to distress or as long term therapy for children and adolescents

For more information, or to express support for the Manifesto, please contact MHE Director Maria Nyman
at maria.nyman@mhe.purpleplanet.website


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