Although South Africa’s constitution guarantees cognitive freedom and freedom from psychological coercion, our parliament has done nothing to implement rights under various sections, in particular article 12. In contrast, Canada which does not have a Bill of Rights, is in the midst of a debate about a “Mental Health Rights Bill”

Jon Gerrard, leader of the Liberal party in Manitoba, introduced a bill on December 2, 2008 in the Manitoba Legislature to provide a bill of rights for citizens with mental health disorders. He wrote on his blog, “It is imperative that people with mental illnesses receive services quickly, that their release from an institution such as a hospital be adequately planned, and that adequate support be available for them in the community on discharge.”

Dr. Jon Gerrard speaks about his bill, his reasons for introducing it, and its fate, now that the Manitoba Legislature has ended its sitting for the summer break, in a radio programme

You can also listen to  Karen Kellogg, a lawyer, research associate and project manager with the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

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