- The keynote of the Lancet articles leaves no doubt that the major focus is the globalisation of Western mental health services and treatments to the developing world. Much is said about evidence based drug treatment and (Western based) community mental health services and nothing, or just negative things are mentioned about the traditional community resources and healing methods available in developing countries, such as India. A famous (and because of the unexpected conclusions, repeated) major WHO study on the comparison between the prognosis of schizophrenia in a number of developed and developing countries has found that the outcome of this major mental health problem is significantly better in the developing world. The Lancet series, and the proposed campaign has not been informed by this finding. Advocating the globalisation of the Western, drug treatment based therapeutic regimes and services, when there is available scientific evidence that in the West major mental disorders have less promising prognosis, seems to be irresponsible.
- Low and middle income countries are seen as retarded societies and civilizations who need to be emancipated by the Western wisdom. The initiated global movement clearly has not learned from the pitfalls of our Western colonialism. Instead of advocating a global discourse on what mental health is and what resources, methods, frameworks have been developed in various cultures across the globe and over the centuries to promote mental well-being, the movement want to sell the industrialised Western approach.
- Human rights mostly means the right to treatment in this context. The Lancet series does not reflect upon its own self-contradiction: on the one hand involuntary treatment and hospitalization is mentioned as a human rights concern and source of stigma in the West, on the other hand there is no discussion on the causes of this reliance on force. Without such a deliberation advocating the right to treatment may easily end up in advocating force.
- Human rights violations in the traditional healing regimes are widely popularised. All this being done without listening to those who voluntarily seek help at traditional healing centers. The fact that no one can be legally coerced to traditional healing, and all human rights breaches taking place in such centers are prosecutable offences, while caging people, depriving them of their liberty and their right to make own choices are backed by mental health laws and thus seen as lawful, is overlooked. Whether the declared full respect for the human rights of people with mental health disabilities is premised on this distinction? Depriving people with disability on grounds non-disabled people would never be lawfully detained is compatible with this "full respect"?
- The approach adopted by the global movement does not feel a need to seek evidence base for traditional healing. Pioneering scholarly work on the effectiveness of traditional healing, such as the one conducted by the Bapu Trust, is ignored.
- The entire movement is based on the premise that the task of defining mental health, developing indicators to measure it, is a professional task of the medics. What constitutes evidence is being decided by psychiatrists. Users of services are not seen as central experts in a broad, cross-cultural and multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary (i.e. genuinely global)discourse on what is mental well-being. No need for such a discourse is envisaged, as it is premised that medical professionals in the West and in intergovernmental organisations already know all the basics.
The global movement as it was initiated and as it has evolved so far is not a joint venture of equals. It is a colonisation attempt with hegemonical role and power of the Western industrialised countries, their psycho-pharmacological industry, which, if succeeds will globalise the legitimised human rights violations in the Western mental health sector. It is a hegemonical appropriation of mental health by the medical profession, ignoring the lived experience of the users and survivors of the services.
And this is certainly something that no one can want, who genuinely believes that human rights and human rights of persons with mental health disabilites are not two separate things.