Protection of the rights of people who have signs of mental illness: experience of Ukraine

Original Article, Pol J Public Health 2021;131: 56-61

Iryna Hora1, Valeriy Kolesnyk1, Oleg Batiuk2

1 National Academy of Security Service of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine

2 Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University, Lutsk, Ukraine

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2021-0011

© 2021 Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


Introduction. People with mental illness can be restricted in certain constitutional rights only in the manner and within the limits that are established by the laws of a particular country. Such restrictions of the rights and interests of persons with mental health defects are possible only by court decision and to the quantities that are determined by the nature of the disease and the degree of public danger of the diseased. Defining a list of such restrictions and criteria for their application is one of the complex problems of public practice.

Aim. The essence of the problem is revealed and the grounds, possibilities and procedure for interfering in the sphere of rights and interests of persons suffering from certain mental illnesses are indicated in the given research, based on results of the analysis of legislative acts and practice of rendering of psychiatric help to patients in Ukraine.

Methodological framework. The authors of the article have applied scientific theoretical methods, which are analysis, syn­thesis, concretization, generalization, analogy, as well as empirical method of studying the normative sources, the methodical documentation, and method of system approach for forming conclusions to reveal the essence of the problem.

Results. Interference in the sphere of personal rights and interests of human is possible only in the manner that is determined for this by the legislation of the country. Such are the requirements regarding the restriction of certain rights of persons who show signs of mental illness or suffer from certain mental illnesses. Restrictions of the rights of people suffering from mental illness have long been applied in society and it is based on the stigmatization of mental illness. However, certain restrictions for such per­sons are important primarily for the protection of their personal interests and the interests of society in general and other people, who are located near them. This relates to the application, in the court manner, of coercive measures of a medical nature not as a form of punishment, but as a system of treatment, medical-prevention and rehabilitation measures, the provision of psychiatric care in accordance with the general principles of treatment. Separate problems are the issues of provision of the rights of persons with mental disorders, who belong to the category of witnesses, victims, plaintiffs, defendants. Here the legislation of Ukraine and departmental documents, by which the issues of protection of the rights of the person with defects of mental health have been regulated, has certain inconsistencies or insufficient clarity of the wording of regulations.

Conclusion. Standards and principles of the providing of psychiatric care in Ukraine are in line with modern European ap­proaches. Judicial manner for making decisions on temporary restriction of the rights of individuals with psychiatric disorders serves as a guarantee of fairness in the application of legal requirements, and the restrictions themselves must be exclusive and minimal in nature. The disadvantage is that there are no rules for conducting psychiatric assessment of victims, witnesses, plain­tiffs, defendants today in Ukraine. At the same time, all these measures require the awareness-building among the population and the education of humane treatment of those whose mental sphere of life needs help.

Keywords: psychiatric status, stigma of mental illness, restriction of the rights, compulsory treatment, psychiatrics in Ukraine.

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