June 6, 2019

Fighting for humane mental health treatment


Faraaz Mahomed, featured in this Harvard Gazette article, is one of the 2019 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s graduates from the doctor of public health program. He is a clinical psychologist originally from South Africa who has ‘focused the last three years on how mental health care is provided around the world, particularly in resource-poor settings, and on how that care can be improved through an emphasis on the human rights of those using mental health services.’ Faraaz is a Research Associate with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and a Research Fellow with the Center for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He has also been a vital Co-Director of a human rights workshop and proposed book that members of the GMH@Harvard Initiative have been working on for this upcoming Fall 2019.

“Traditionally what we’ve seen in the mental health system is there’s a lot of coercion, a lot of involuntary treatment,” Faraaz said. “People’s rights have generally not been very well respected if they’ve had mental health conditions. Part of the challenge with rights-based approaches to mental health is that we don’t necessarily understand them very well. Part of my work was defining what they are.”