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In 2019, the Council of Europe (COE) Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) committed to develop a ‘compendium of good practices to promote voluntary measures in the field of mental healthcare’. The DH-BIO Strategic Action Plan on Human Rights and Technologies in Biomedicine 2020-2025 (p.15) states that:

In mental healthcare for persons with psychosocial disabilities the focus is shifting towards avoiding recourse to involuntary measures. To assist member States in this shift, the Committee on Bioethics intends to develop a compendium of good practices to promote voluntary measures in mental healthcare, both at a preventive level and in situations of crisis, by focusing on examples in member States.

 

This report provides this compendium. It compiles good examples provided by DH-BIO delegations representing the 47 Member States of the COE, as well as civil society stakeholders. The primary contribution from a civil society stakeholder was a submission by Mental Health Europe, which included several practices.

This report is written for a diverse audience, including policymakers, people with firsthand experience of mental health services and their representative organisations, mental health professionals, family supporters and carers, disabled people’s organisations and other civil society organisations, and the broader public. It is not meant as an exhaustive list of leading practices in COE Member States. Instead, it is meant as an initial step toward compiling practices aimed at promoting voluntary mental healthcare and support, and reducing and preventing coercion in mental health settings.

The next section, Part I will set out the terminology, scope, background, and research limitations of the compendium, before the practices are listed in Part II.