#WhatWENeed Campaign (2019)

This post was originally published on the #WhatWENeed Campaign official website on October 20, 2019.

Transforming Communities for Inclusion of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities – Asia Pacific (TCI Asia Pacific) is a regional Organization of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities, with partner members in 21 countries in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific. TCI Asia Pacific is a movement on Inclusion, started after the CRPD came into the world. Internationally, regionally and nationally, TCI works towards capacity building and policy development towards realizing full compliance with the UNCRPD.

The #WhatWENeed campaign is a yearly, social media campaign organized and run by TCI Asia Pacific, between the months of October to December. The campaign starts with the International mental health week and ends with the International disability day in early December, signifying the transitions that mental health systems worldwide need to make. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the needs of persons with psychosocial disabilities, persons with lived experience, users and survivors of psychiatry, those with an identity of ‘mad’, voices from the cross-disability movement and all key stakeholders who have faith in such a paradigm shift.

An objective of the campaign is to give voice to survivors of psychiatry, persons with an identity of neurodiversity, “mad” persons, persons with intersectional identities inclusive of disability, and persons with psychosocial disabilities to reclaim the World Mental Health Week (7th to 13th October). The occasion will bring together such persons from around the world and articulate unheard voices within the movement, for reframing the debate and to transition towards full CRPD compliance.

Our location is from within the disability discourse, cognizant of the fast-evolving discourse on the CRPD, the various documents and resources released by the UN on our inclusion.  The #WhatWENeed campaign will centrally involve us along with our cross-disability allies, to clearly articulate our common needs, to enable a dignified life in the community. The campaign will counter the growing medicalisation and coercive treatments of ordinary lives worldwide and in low and middle-income countries of the global south.  The campaign also challenges the influx and exponential growth of pharmaceutical companies; the relentless import of western-based, medical centric models to communities; mixed with extant colonial practices of segregation, seclusion and arrest without warrant into detention centers of different kinds.

As evidenced by the campaign last year, it is also a celebration of full compliance of the UNCRPD and a useful resource for our communities worldwide. Emphasizing intersectionality, multiple discriminations, and amplifying unheard voices within the disability movement, the campaign invites all people to participate and is accessible by the use of social media and simple formats.

The #WhatWENeed campaign will provide an opportunity for energizing national advocacy in the Asia Pacific regions with the full engagement of TCI Asia Pacific national partners, Fellows and allies; to strengthen their national advocacy efforts by composing and disseminating strong messages of Inclusion within Development.  

We invite your participation in #WhatWENeed 2019!!

The theme is in line with the UNCRPD is Inclusion Within Development and involves but is not limited to the following areas:

– Alternatives to coercive mental health; building knowledge and awareness of community support mechanisms

– Linkages with development organisations working towards the development and viewing mental health from a development lens

– Building social capital

– Food security, food quality, the importance of accessing nutritious food

– Right to live in one’s own community and to be able to exercise the right to decide where to live, community development, development community mental health programs in communities

–  Job, livelihood and employment security for persons with psychosocial disabilities

–  Gender-based violence interventions

– Trauma-informed and social justice approaches to emotional well being and understanding distress

–  Rights of persons with intersectional identities for example – caste, gender, cross-disability, etc

–  Disability inclusive disaster management including in areas of humanitarian conflict

–  Awareness of rights in line with the UNCRPD and non-discriminatory provisions in all aspects

– Different ways to support persons with psychosocial disabilities, including creative, sporting, fitness-oriented and spiritual means

– Work with policymakers to bring about changes to harmonize the UNCRPD

– Realizing entitlements to educational opportunities, legal aid and community resources

– Addressing issues of violence, abuse, involuntary institutionalisation, solitary confinement, shackling and deprivation of liberty of persons with psychosocial disabilities

– Freedom from subtle and gross coercion such as gatekeeping by mental health professionals

– Clean and healthy environments, water, sanitation and access to nature

– Building acceptance in communities

While these are some thematic areas we are engaging with, we are not limited by them and welcome thematic areas that are not mentioned in the list.

The platforms for engaging with the campaign are:

i. Photo Campaign:  This consists of a photograph of an individual, group or any relevant image with a clear, articulate message on what they need. The #WhatWENeed must be mentioned in the message.

ii. Articles/Essays/Opinion Pieces/Interviews: The campaign invites position papers, statements and declarations, advocacy manifestoes, facts, data and arguments in the form of articles, essays, opinion pieces and interviews. It may include both critiques of “mental health” as well as development linked topics, as listed above.

iii. Advocacy Events:  Curating advocacy events with the support of TCI Asia Pacific and in line with the UNCRPD is an introduction to the campaign this year as a result of the many numbers of events that happened last year as part of the campaign. We encourage all kinds of events with the theme of Inclusion Within Development.

For further inquiries and to join the campaign, you can connect with us at [email protected]. You could also send us your content directly to the email provided. Find us on Facebook or Twitter and send us your contributions there.

Find our archives on #WhatWENeed 2018 at http://www.whatweneed.in/

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