Yom Kipur of the mental health community

12 10 2014

Atonement

by 

One of my first meetings when I arrived at NIMH 12 years ago was with board members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). I asked them how NIMH could be helpful. One board member’s request was especially memorable. “Declare a day of atonement,” she suggested. When I saw this same board member last month at the annual NAMI meeting, we both recalled that 2002 meeting with a touch of regret. I wished I had had a better response to her request. And, as she said to me last month, “I wished I had asked for a week.”

As it turns out, Mental Illness Awareness Week this year began with Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Which begs the question: what do we (in the mental health community) need to atone for? There are so many answers. For some, it may be the culture of blame and shame perpetuated for years by clinicians who explained all mental illness as being caused by trauma and evil parents. For others, it may be the singular reliance on medication and modifying behavior rather than holistic care and the provision of skills. Others will name the paternalistic structure of mental health care, which can undermine rather than empower individuals and their families. The list goes on. Maybe it would take a week, not just a day, to capture the many complaints.

My own favorite atonement issue for Mental Illness Awareness Week this year is the lack of humility in our field. Mental disorders are among the most complex problems in medicine, with challenges at every level from neurons to neighborhoods. Yet, we know so little about mechanisms at each level. Too often, we have been guided more by religion than science. That is, so much of mental health care is based on faith and intuition, not science and evidence. On the plus side, we put a premium on listening and compassion. We help people to change through understanding. But not enough of our care has been standardized to a high level of quality, as expected in the rest of medicine.

On the research side, it’s easy to lose humility. The pace of discovery in genomics and neuroscience is ever more rapid—this week’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine  is a good example of how neuroscience is revealing the fundamentals of brain activity—in this case describing the brain’s “GPS” network. Advances in systems neuroscience, from dissecting circuits to human brain imaging, are unequivocally stunning. But, and this is a humbling caveat, we simply have not been able to translate this revolution in neuroscience to diagnostics or therapeutics for people with mental disorders.

Why the disconnect? Translation takes time. Translation requires replication, regulation, and ultimately reimbursement. Fundamentally, translation is really difficult. For instance, we have thousands of neuroimaging studies but none that has delivered a clinically useful biomarker. For NIMH this is a humbling realization—we still lack biomarkers to identify who should get which treatment. We still lack effective treatments for many aspects of mental illness.

So this year on Mental Illness Awareness Week, my call is for humility. We need to be aware that mental disorders are immensely complex—too complex for scientists, clinicians, patients, or families to solve alone. Prevention, recovery, and cure—the NIMH vision—need a collective effort. Beyond the day—or week—of atonement, we need a massive campaign to transform diagnosis and treatment.





“a sane reaction to insane circumstances”

11 08 2013

To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.

 

To see & hear her talk at TED click HERE

 

EL





A New Job Board for Applicants with disabilities

10 07 2013

 Today I wish to briefly introduce a new Job board for applicants with disabilities. This unique job board was established by the Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and is aimed to further enhance work inclusion of people with disabilities in Israel.  For more details (in Hebrew) see: http://www.mtlm.org.il/jobs/ or join the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MTLM.JOBS

As part of this project, I had the privilege to write a guide for Job seekers with disabilities. In this guide, I sought to present relevant information about the job search process and to provide practical tools that will assist  job seekers in this complex journey. Furthermore, I discuss the disability disclosure issue, that is, whether, and when the person should disclose her/his disability (to read more on this issue see http://www.uwrf.edu/CareerServices/upload/HandoutDisabilityDisclosure.pdf). I will share this guide with you in the next few days. I will also share a review that I wrote about job boards to people with disabilities, worldwide.





“seeking treatment is a sign of strength”

6 06 2013

Following President Obama calls for end to mental illness stigma, here is an interesting post by Dr. Insel, NIMH director.

June 3 marked the first White House Conference on Mental Health in 14 years. President Obama opened the event by describing how many people “suffer in silence” rather than seeking help:

We see it in the veterans who come home from the battlefield with invisible wounds of war, but who feel like seeking treatment is somehow a sign of weakness – when, in fact, it’s a sign of strength.

We see it in the parents who would do anything for their kids, but who often fight their mental health battle alone – afraid that reaching out would invite judgment or reflect badly on them.

And we see it in tragedies that we have the power to prevent.

With these remarks, the President launched the National Dialogue on Mental Health, bringing together 200 mental health experts, a dozen members of Congress, and celebrities like Glenn Close and Bradley Cooper to start a national conversation about youth and mental health. The White House has also launched a website, mentalhealth.gov, with its tag line “Let’s talk about it.”

Noting that less than 40 percent of people with mental disorders seek treatment, the President stressed the need to do a better job recognizing mental health issues, especially in children. Acknowledging that we must ensure that treatment is available, the President described how the Affordable Care Act will expand mental health care to 60 million more Americans, and he detailed new investments to increase the mental health workforce. He also noted how new investments in science, including the BRAIN initiative, should bring better treatments for those who need them.

It’s hard not to draw a parallel to the June 1999 White House conference, which was precipitated by the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado six weeks earlier. Hosted by Tipper Gore and President Clinton, the focus was on youth mental health and reducing stigma. Fourteen years later, the conversation leaders are different, but the issues are much the same. Again we are in the wake of a school shooting; again we turn our attention to mental health in youth; and again we are discussing how to overcome negative attitudes toward those with mental disorders. But this begs the question: why are we still having the same conversation about the same issues in mental health? How do we refocus this discussion?

First of all, much has changed in the past 14 years that should be enriching our dialogue: the era of genomics has transformed biomedical science; the revolution in mobile technology reaches countless adolescents and holds potential as an avenue to change behaviors; and the advent of health care reform will help more people get the treatment they need. All of these have the promise to transform mental health care and mental health research.

Second, we need not only a national dialogue but a national action plan. “Let’s talk about it” is a good place to start, but for a 19-year-old in the grip of a psychotic episode or a 16-year-old on the path to serious mental illness, we urgently need an action plan to alter the course of their illness. This year, the 100,000 young Americans who will have a first episode of psychosis will join over two million adults with schizophrenia. The majority of people with mental illness delay seeking care, which is especially serious for people with psychotic disorders. In the United States, individuals with psychosis go untreated for, on average, 110 weeks.1 Among other serious consequences, untreated psychosis poses an increased risk for substance use and suicide, both of which contribute to the elevated mortality associated with these disorders. Our best hope of reducing mortality from serious mental disorders will come from realizing that just like other medical illnesses, we need to diagnose and preempt the illness before the symptoms become manifest. At the White House conference, Vice President Biden spoke to this point directly, stressing that we must intervene earlier, as we do today for cancer and heart disease.

Recognizing this call to action, NIMH is preparing for a surge of research focused on predicting and preventing serious mental illness. New initiatives will seek to change the treatment paradigm from one of treating chronic illness to one of preempting the illness long before symptoms emerge. We have two landmark NIMH studies to build upon: The North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study (NAPLS) is a consortium of clinical research centers studying ways to identify individuals earlier who are at risk for an initial psychotic episode. Through NAPLS, we have the opportunity to create a toolkit to improve prediction of psychosis using biosignatures and neurocognitive testing. The Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project is a large-scale research effort to explore whether using early and aggressive treatment will reduce the symptoms for individuals who have already had a psychotic episode and prevent the subsequent gradual deterioration of functioning. RAISE will be expanded with the aim to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis by linking community mental health care to primary care and school mental health resources.

We must make sure that the next White House conference on mental health is a celebration of progress. Science is the path on which progress is made. Investing in programs focused on early diagnosis are the best hope for creating more precise diagnostics and more effective preventive interventions to ensure better outcomes. Let’s start writing a new chapter in the chronicle on mental health. Our nation’s youth deserve to be part of a better story.

References

 1 Marshall M, Lewis S, Lockwood A, Drake R, Jones P, Croudace T. Association between duration of untreated psychosis and outcome in cohorts of first-episode patientsArch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Sep 62:975-983.





The World Future Council is looking for a Policy Officer – Persons with Disabilities

6 06 2013

This time I wish to publish a  job offer by the World Future Council (WFC). The WFC is a global forum of 50 respected personalities who give voice to the shared ethical values of citizens worldwide. The Council works closely with policy-makers, civil society and business to identify and implement best policies to protect the rights of future generations (http://www.worldfuturecouncil.org). Good luck!

 

WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL – VACANCY

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 14 June 2013

 

The World Future Council is looking for a

Policy Officer – Persons with Disabilities

 

Starting date: 1st September 2013

Period: 12 months, with possible prolongation

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Responsibilities:

  • Liaise with the Zero Project overall coordinator, the Essl Foundation, as well as project partners: the European Foundation Centre
  • Research innovative policies advancing the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Co-author the annual Zero Project Report
  • Co-organize the annual Zero Project Conferences in Vienna
  • Present the Zero Project in briefings, side events and conferences  to stakeholders (especially in Geneva, New York, Vienna)
  • Develop the Zero Project network, especially with parliamentarians with disabilities
  • Contribute to the Zero Project’s website: www.zeroproject.org and social media presence:www.facebook.com/zeroproject.org
  • Develop and maintain the WFC’s Zero Project online presence: www.worldfuturecouncil.org/enable.html as well aswww.futurepolicy.org,
  • Support media, fundraising activities and research for cooperation
  • ·         Monitor and assess project progress
    • Report to the Supervisor

 

Profile:

  •   Academic background, preferably in human rights/disability law and policy, international relations or political sciences
  • Working experience in a Disabled Peoples Organisation, direct experience of disability or with persons with disabilities is an asset
  • Outgoing and reliable personality with a ‘can-do’ attitude
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Very good knowledge of research, editorial work as well as event management
  • Excellent knowledge of German, English and of a further UN language, preferably French
  • Very good IT literacy. Knowledge of CMS (especially WordPress and Typo3) is an asset
  • Committed to the WFC’s vision and mission of long-term sustainability and equity
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of an international team
  • A Swiss/EU work permit is required

Please address your application to the WFC Coordinator of the Geneva Office: Ms Ingrid Heindorf. Please send a cover letter, CV and published writing sample, as well as your salary expectations, to Ingrid.heindorf@worldfuturecouncil.org. Subject heading: Policy Officer and your name. Deadline: 14 June 2013. Only candidates invited for interview will be contacted. Interviews will be held on 25th June 2013.

 





A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness by Glenn Close

30 05 2013

Award-winning actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will narrate “A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness” an inspiring documentary that tells the stories of everyday people to shatter myths about mental illness, highlighting the struggles faced by those with mental health challenges, and their hope, resilience and recovery.

Ms. Close is a dedicated mental health advocate, having founded a national anti-stigma campaign, Bring Change 2 Mind in partnership with The Balanced Mind Foundation, Fountain House, and Garen & Shari Staglin of the International Mental Health Research Organization (IMHRO). The idea for Bring Change 2 Mind was born when Ms. Close volunteered at Fountain House in order to learn more about mental illness, which both her sister, Jessie Close, and nephew, Calen Pick, live with.

“The toxic stigma around mental illness can be as painful as the illness itself,” said Ms. Close. “It’s crucial that these diverse and powerful stories are told and shared so that everyone realizes that mental illness touches us all. No one need struggle in isolation, silence and shame. Listening and having the courage to join the conversation will save lives.”

“A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness” is produced by KVIE, Sacramento’s PBS station, as part of a comprehensive statewide effort to increase the number of people who seek early help for mental challenges by reducing stigma and discrimination around mental illness. It is a Prevention and Early Intervention program of California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working together to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities, and funded by the voter-approved CaliforniaMental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).

SOURCE California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)
glenn-close





News about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

1 03 2013

The United Nations Enable Newsletter is prepared by the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (DSPD/DESA) with input from UN offices, agencies, funds and programmes, as well as from civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities. I hope that you will find it interesting and helpful.

High-level Meeting on disability and development (23 September 2013)
The High-level meeting of the General Assembly on disability and development (HLMDD:http://www.un.org/hlmdd2013) is expected to take place at the level of the Heads of States on 23 September, this year. Prior to the meeting, a draft text of the outcome document will be produced by the President of the General Assembly in consultation with Member States, along with input from organizations of persons with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders, through online discussions and informal consultations. Toward this end, DESA, in partnership with UNICEF will conduct online consultations under the existing platform of the World We Want 2015 from 8-28 March. (http://www.worldwewant2015.org)

Commission for Social Development concludes its session
The 51st session of the Commission for Social Development (CSOCD) met in New York from 6 to 15 February under the theme: “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all”. Two reports were presented to the Commission at this sessions: “Report of the Secretary General on Mainstreaming Disability in the Development Agenda” (E/CN.5/2013/9) and “Report of the Special Rapporteur to the 51st Session of the Commission for Social Development: Monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities” (E/CN.5/2013/10). The Special Rapporteur on Disability, Shuaib Chalklen, also presented his statement to the Commission. (http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=48&pid=38)

Panel discussion on a post-2015 development framework
A panel discussion was organized by DESA in collaboration with the UN Regional Commissions on 12 February, as a side-event to the above session of the Commission. The event entitled: “Toward a disability-inclusive post-2015 development framework: Regional perspectives” was organized with a view to generate input to the outcome document for the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on disability and development to be held on 23 September, this year. Focusing on the role of UN Regional Commissions, the discussion highlighted current efforts to integrate existing international instruments on disability in regional and national policies and frameworks on development. (http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=48&pid=38)

New Enable webpage on Indigenous persons with disabilities
DESA has prepared a new web page to draw attention to issues related to indigenous persons with disabilities. While no global data exists regarding indigenous persons with disabilities, available statistics show that indigenous peoples are disproportionately likely to experience disability in comparison to the general population. Indigenous persons with disabilities often experience multiple discrimination and face barriers based on their indigenous status, as well as their disability. The international community has also recognized that special measures are required to protect the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. This web page will continue to develop as a hub of news, resources and links related to indigenous persons with disabilities. (http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1605)

My World: The United Nations global survey
Make the voices of persons with disabilities heard… LOUD!
Vote for the changes that would make the most difference to your world! MY World is a United Nations global survey asking you to choose your priorities for a better world. There are 16 priority areas in the survey, plus one more for you to decide, which can be made disability-specific. For example: Freedom to make my own decisions; Being included in the community by removing architectural and attitudinal barriers; Including persons with disabilities in all development plans, programs and activities. You decide! Forward, translate and send this around the world!Results will be shared with world leaders in setting the next global development agenda. Tell them about the world you want, because your voice matters!
Vote at: http://enable.myworld2015.org

HRC – Work and employment of persons with disabilities
The fifth interactive debate of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the rights of persons with disabilities will take place on Wednesday, 6 March 2013 in Geneva, focusing on the issue of work and employment of persons with disabilities. The debate will bring together experts in the field of promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, including: representatives of a organization of persons with disabilities (DPO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the private sector, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and a social entrepreneur. Presentations by panelists will be followed by an interactive discussion among Human Rights Council Member States and observers. The debate will seek to identify good practices in promoting employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in both public- and private-sector workplaces. It will also contribute to raising awareness of the challenges that persons with disabilities continue to face in employment, and to highlight the measures that States and employers can take with a view to ensuring that persons with disabilities enjoy access to, retention of and advancement in employment on an equal basis with others. The panel and its web cast will be made accessible to persons with disabilities through real time captioning and sign language interpretation. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/Pages/Workandemploymentofpersonswithdisabilities.aspx). As requested by the HRC, OHCHR has also prepared a thematic study on the work and employment of persons with disabilities (A/HRC/22/25). (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disability/Pages/ThematicStudies.aspx)

HRC – Side-event on Inclusive Education
As a side-event to the 22nd session of the HRC, UNICEF and the Permanent Missions of Finland and Spain will co-organize a side-event titled: Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities: Examples from Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS region, on 1 March, in Geneva, Switzerland. Speakers include: H. E. Mr. Zarko Obradovic, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia; H. E. Mr. Pance Kralev, Minister of Education and Science of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; H. E. Ms. Vesna Vucurovic, Deputy Minister of Education and Sports of Montenegro; Ms. Yoka Brandt, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director; and Mr. J Patrick Clarke, Chief Executive Officer of Down Syndrome Ireland, representing the International Disability Alliance.

OHCHR – General Discussion on women and girls with disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold a half Day of General Discussion on Women and Girls with Disabilities on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. Women and girls with disabilities experience multiple forms of discrimination, which hinder their meaningful participation on an equal basis with others in all spheres of life. The Committee has invited persons with disabilities and their representative organizations to submit their inputs to the Committee. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspx)

WHO – JPMH Mental health and human rights: Call for papers
The Journal of Public Mental Health (JPMH) announces a call for papers for a special issue on mental health and human rights, to be published in 2013. Accepted contributions include original research papers, systematic reviews, policy analyses and case studies. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse launched the QualityRights (QR) Project, which aims to improve the quality and human rights conditions in mental health and social care facilities and empower civil society organizations to advocate for the rights of people with mental and psychosocial disabilities. This call for papers aims to inform the core objectives of QualityRights. JPMH hopes to attract papers from academics, practitioners and activists in resource-scarce countries. Papers submitted for this special edition should be marked with “QualityRights” in the title. The manuscript selection process will follow the Journal’s peer-review procedures. Submit articles to http://emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/journals.htm?id=jpmh before 1 June 2013.  Informal enquiries to: Leeknifton@gmail.com. Information on WHO’s QualityRights Toolkit is available at: http://www.who.int/mental_health/publications/QualityRights_toolkit/en/index.html.

World Bank – Disability & Development training course
The World Bank’s core course on Disability & Development aims to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the conceptual and practical issues involved in the development and implementation of inclusive economic and social policies that are relevant for persons with disabilities. The course aims to help increase knowledge on disability, its social and economic relevance and development policies and programs responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities; increase understanding of the main issues involved in the process of including disability into development to ensure that persons with disabilities have equal access to all mainstream policies and services and to eliminate “disability disadvantage”. Deadline for registration: Friday, 1 March 2013. (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/disability2013http://www.worldbank.org/disability/corecourse)

UPCOMING EVENTS
(Send us information on major international disability events for possible inclusion in the list below)

27 February to 1 March: Seminar on Indigenous peoples
The “International Expert Seminar on Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples including Truth and Reconciliation processes” held at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, New York, will contribute to the work of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Agenda Item 12 of the seminar covers: “Indigenous Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and Access to Justice”. (http://hrcolumbia.org/indigenous/seminar)

11 March: ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival at UN HQ
The Permanent Mission of Sweden will sponsor the screening of the film: “The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes” at UN Headquarters in New York. Film synopsis: When Alex gets a job as the leader of a local theater group for persons with disabilities, his outlook on life begins to change. Through the theater group’s work, Alex comes to appreciate that every person has his or own talents, which can grow if given the opportunity and support. (Lena Koppel / 100 min.) The event is being organized by ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival, the UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI) and DESA.  (http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/idpd/reelabilities_11march2013_un.doc)

4 to 15 March: Commission on the Status of Women, 55th session
The fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at UN Headquarters under the priority theme: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.” The review theme chosen is “the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS (agreed conclusions from the fifty-third session). (http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/57sess.htm)

21 March: World Down Syndrome Day
In 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). This year at the United Nations the World Down Syndrome Conference 2013 will be organized at UN Headquarters in New York on 21 March, under the theme “The Right to Work”. This year’s Conference will focus on the rights of persons with Down syndrome to work in open, inclusive and accessible environments. It will help raise awareness on the importance of promoting early development and education, proper medical care, and providing for independent living in communities. The multi-stakeholder event will be organized in collaboration with Down Syndrome International, the Missions of Australia, Brazil, Poland, India, DESA and other partners. (http://www.un.org/en/events/downsyndromeday;  http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org)

2 April: World Autism Awareness Day
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from the disorder so they can lead full and meaningful lives. (http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/)

17 April: General Discussion on women and girls with disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will hold a half Day of General Discussion on Women and Girls with Disabilities. (see OHCHR above)

29 to 30 April: 29th Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity
The theme for the 29th Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity: “Being in Community”, embraces the ideals of all people living together harmoniously and happily in a barrier-free world without fear of exclusion from social, economic or political life. (http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu)

20 to 31 May: 12th session, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The session will be held at UN Headquarters, New York and include a review year of the Forum. (http://social.un.org/index/IndigenousPeoples/UNPFIISessions/Twelfth.aspx)

6 to 7 June: M-Enabling Summit 2013
The second M-Enabling Summit 2013: Global Summit on Accessible Mobile Technology for Senior Citizens and Users of All Abilities is organized by the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and E.J. Krause and Associates (EJK) in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ensuring substantial participation for leading international mobile service providers, policy makers, apps developers and manufacturers. (http://www.m-enabling.com)

27 to 28 June: Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries
The Symposium to be held at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, will focus on improving and increasing access to technology and rehabilitation products and services with the goal of ensuring full inclusion and participation for persons with disabilities in low-resourced communities in low and middle income countries.  The keynote speaker will be Chapal Khasnabis, Disability and Rehabilitation Team, World Health Organization. (http://idtr.uwctds.washington.edu/workshops/2013)

2 to 3 July: Include 2013: Global Challenges and Local Solutions in Inclusive Design
The event will be organised by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Hong Kong Design Centre and the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. (www.hhc.rca.ac.uk/4989/all/1/include-2013.aspx)

2 to 13 September: 10th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(Details forthcoming)

9 to 11 September: 6th International Urban Design Conference
The Conference will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  The conference “UrbanAgiNation” urbanisation | agitation | imagination will examine the future Density and Infrastructure requirements in cities. The call for abstracts is now open. (http://urbandesignaustralia.com.au)

23 September: High-level meeting on disability and development
(See item above).

16 to 18 October: 2nd International Conference of the WFD
The 2nd Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) will be held in Sydney, Australia under the theme: “Equality for Deaf People”. (www.wfdsydney2013.com)

3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The details and theme for 2013 are forthcoming.
(http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=111)

OTHER NEWS
(DISCLAIMER: The information below is provided by civil society organizations and others for informational purposes only. This does not constitute endorsement of, or an approval by, the United Nations of any of the products, services, or opinions of the organization or individual. The United Nations bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of their statements and opinions.)

New “COMPASS” on Human Rights Education
The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Education Manual “COMPASS”, a new, revised version now includes “Disability and Disablism” as a theme, as well as a 10-page background text on the topic produced through a multi-stakeholder partnership of the CoE, UN, European Disability Forum, IFHOHYP and other DPOs. COMPASS also includes training activities on disability and disability rights. (http://eycb.coe.int/compass/download_en.html)

Ibero-American Year for Workplace Inclusion of Persons with Disability
The XXII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Governments held in Cadiz in November 2013 agreed to declare the year 2013 as the “Ibero-American Year for Workplace Inclusion of Persons with Disability”. This idea first came from an agreement initially signed by the Vice-presidency of Ecuador, the Employment Ministers Iberoamerica, the Ibero-American Secretariat (SEGIB) and the Ibero-American Social Security Organization (OISS). To support their proposal to the Ibero-American Summit, SEGIB and OISS presented the results of a study, which described the situation of persons with disability in Iberoamerica and the barriers they face to access the labour market (http://segib.org/es/node/4788http://segib.org/cumbres/files/2012/03/11-COMESP-INCLUSION-DISCAPACIDAD-ESP.pdf)

Funding opportunities for disability policy scholars  
The Center for Studying Disability Policy (CSDP), through the Disability Research Consortium (DRC) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), is funding disability policy scholars.  Applications are being accepted for three grants that offer funding opportunities for graduate students and new researchers conducting disability policy research, under the Disability Policy Research Summer Scholars Program, the Disability Policy Research Dissertation Scholars Program, and the Disability Policy Research Emerging Investigator Award Program. Deadline: 8 March 2013. (http://www.disabilitypolicyresearch.org/DRC/DRC_grants.asp)

Inclusion International Launches Global Report on Article 19
Inclusion International launched a new global report entitled: “Inclusive Communities = Stronger Communities”. The report confirms that most adults with intellectual disabilities live at home and do not have the support they need to live and be included in their communities. It reveals that families are the major source of support. The report highlights that transforming communities to be inclusive and ensuring that people with disabilities are included in mainstream programmes are essential for securing the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. (http://www.inclusion-international.org)

Strengthening the voices of the users and survivors of psychiatry
WNUSP, an international representative network of the voices of users and survivors of psychiatry, is working to ensure that the views and opinions of all users and survivors of psychiatry around the world are respected and upheld. Find out more about its new project “Strengthen Our Voices!” (http://www.wnusp.net)

LCD New publication on inclusive education
Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) has recently published “Inclusive Education – An Introduction”. Every child in the world has a right to education. However, children with disabilities are still disproportionately excluded from school. In an inclusive school, disabled children do not study in separate classes; all children learn together in the same classroom using materials appropriate to their various needs. This publication explores LCD’s approach to inclusive education and highlights their projects in Africa and Asia that support children with disabilities to get the education that they, and all children, deserve. (http://www.lcint.org/?lid=5136)

A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities
Women with disabilities often discover that the social stigma of disability and inadequate care are greater barriers to health than the disability, itself. This Handbook, developed with the help and experience of women with disabilities in 42 countries, can help women with disabilities overcome barriers, improve their general health, self-esteem and ability to care for themselves, as well as increase their participation in their communities.
(http://en.hesperian.org/hhg/A_Health_Handbook_for_Women_with_Disabilities)

DPI convenes meeting on youth with disabilities in India
Disabled People’s International (DPI), India, organized a 2-day National Convention for Youth with Disabilities on 7 to 8 February in New Delhi. Around 50 young students with disabilities from the top colleges and universities, including engineering, medical, law, media and design institutes, participated in this first-ever initiative. The objective of the event was to reach out to young people with disabilities and inspire the next generation leaders of, not just the Indian disability sector, but also those who would be agents of change in other fields. The Convention was inaugurated by the Government Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. DPI has also launched its new website. (www.dpi.org)

CONTACT INFORMATION

Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
S-2906, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, USA.
Website: www.un.org/disabilities
Email: enable@un.org
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