Advocating for Persons with Mental Health Problems: Living Up to the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Mental Health, Advocacy, Role of Advocates, Limits of Advocates, Legal Rights of Persons with Mental Health Problems, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Texts in areas less fraught than mental health law are unlikely to include a section on advocacy. The unique confluence of barriers to full inclusion and participation in society that people with mental health problems face compels a discussion on the role of advocates and, more particularly, of lawyers in the struggle towards equality. I will survey a range of topic to provide a glimpse of the function and limits of the advocate and to offer support for those who take on the role. The chapter is animated by the conviction that the advocate should make a positive contribution towards the flourishing of the human and legal rights of persons with mental health problems.