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Protection of rights of persons with mental disabilities possible
  • Written by Valentyna Volik, integrator of Konotop local Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid
  • Published in  Success stories

Considering the attitude of our society towards people with special needs, I often ask myself: "Why are people so cruel to those who have physical or mental disabilities? Why do people decide what's best for persons with special needs without considering their opinion and even asking them? What can I do to ease the lives of people with special needs, to change the stereotypes and attitudes of our society to them?"

Recently I met a young person who spent all his life in public institutions. The story of the young man startled me so much, that I started a deeper study of the problems of people with mental disabilities.

His problem emerged in the child's home, where he appeared by a twist of fate, then he moved to various boarding schools for orphans and children deprived of parental care. While staying in boarding schools, he was established a disability diagnosis associated with mental disorder.

While staying in boarding school, he could not defend his right to the own opinion, honor and dignity, could not tell the truth concerning the violations of other rights. The child was often placed to a psychiatric ward for expressing his opinion to protect his rights. Sometimes, even on holidays he was sent to the so-called preventive examination in the psychiatric hospital.

After finishing special courses for persons with psychiatric diagnosis these people have no opportunity to continue education in the field they like. A driver's license is prohibited; to get a job of your dream is impossible. Thinking about the future and feeling such injustice treatment, the young man raised the question of the removal of the diagnosis. At the same time, he can draw, bead, read books, use internet, has the page on social media, communicates with his age mates, lives in the dormitory on his own, prepares meals and irons his clothes. He's only 17 years old, it is the only age when you can dream and realize your dreams, but the diagnosis and disability make everything impossible.

The young person’s guardian, the chief of the Office of the Children's Services believes that it will be better for the guy to preserve the diagnosis.

The guy addressed many agencies to find a way to remove his diagnosis. But it is a vicious circle, no one wants to take responsibility, each of them wants to play safe and doesn't think that this is the only opportunity for the person to change his status and start a new life.

From a legal point of view, the guardian should put the question of removing the diagnosis in case of improvement of the health status. But the public guardian has his own point of view that gives no chance for the young man to start a new life, to realize dreams and aspirations. Here is a paradox: the young man has to struggle for the constitutional right to free development of his personality with the state system, system of psychiatry and social stereotypes.

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Valentyna Volik, integrator of Konotop local Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid. Photo by Coordinating Center for FSLA.

The guy addressed Konotop Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid. The center's specialists carefully studied the problem, invited the guardian. After clarifying the circumstances of the case the guardian collected the necessary documents and filed the appeal about attraction of the lawyer.

Having considered the application, the center was designated the lawyer Oleh Kysliak (order of May 31, 2016 No. 81/1801-004078-03 for the preparation of relevant procedural documents, representation of interests in court on appeal established the Sumy regional psycho-neurological dispensary of diagnosis).

After analyzing the documents and information received the lawyer made a reasoned statement to Romny city court about the abolition of diagnosis and withdrawal from the psychiatric records.

Now the trial of the case is in progress, the lawyer is confident in a positive solution.

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