The organization in brief

Human Rights in Mental Health – FGIP is an international federation of not-for-profit organizations that promote humane, ethical and effective mental health care throughout the world. The organization aims to empower people and help build improved and sustainable services that are not dependent on continued external support. The defense of human rights in mental health care delivery is the cornerstone of our work. We consider it our prime obligation to speak out whenever and wherever human rights abuses in mental health practice occur, and work with local partners to amend the situation and make sure the human rights violations in question are discontinued. The basis in all our activities is partnership.

Mind the Gap international campaign COVID-19 and mental health


The international campaign ”Mind the Gap” focuses on the terminology of “social distancing”, a concept that for many persons with psychosocial or physical disability only increases their social isolation further. “Physical distancing” is a necessity in times of a COVID-19 pandemic, but the ones who are hurt most by the current crisis are those who are in need of social contacts, who are lonely, are chronically ill, are elderly without a social network, and are people with mental health problems who are often neglected, ignored and sometimes openly shunned by others. To them social distancing means that their isolation becomes a high-security prison, an isolation cell, and to some it will be a reason enough to seriously consider ending their lives.

Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP has spoken out against using the term at an early stage of the COVID crisis, and some basic materials were developed to illustrate our position. Others have also expressed their concern, and also the World Health Organization has called upon authorities and the general public to change the term to “physical distancing”.

In April 2020 we started an international campaign to stop using the term “social distancing” and instead to change it into “physical distancing” and social solidarity. The campaign is supported by 50 organizatioins worldwide. The campaign visuals have been translated in 40 languages and are free to use in social media or in any other form. Well-known people have agreed to have us use their portrait with the campaign visuals; others have added a quote. Further information can be found on our website

We also maintain the following facebooks:

and the Mind the Gap Campaign facebook

Mind the Gap South Africa


The mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic vary from country to country, but it is safe to assume that they will be worse in countries where a stricter lock down was enforced, or where lock down measures were less consistent, affecting specific parts of the population e.g. the poor, or where consecutions are such that lockdown as such resulted in very unhealthy circumstances.

South Africa has been particularly hard hit, resulting in very unsafe situations in areas with a high-density population e.g. townships, increased racial tensions, violence and arbitrary measures by the police.

The Mind the Gap-SA Campaign has been rolled out in five languages in addition to English: Xhosa, Zulu, Shona, Southern Sotho and Afrikaans. All logo’s and banners are available in those languages, and can be found on the website: 


FGIP has created a special crowdfunding page with two project in South Africa that we are raising funds for.

Care for a Cuppa

The Global Mental Health Peer Network (GMHPN), an international mental health lived experience organisation, based in South Africa and represented in 25 countries, plans to set up a “Virtual Coffee Shop” where individuals with lived experience with mental health conditions or anyone experiencing mental health problems as a result of COVID are able to join others for a casual and informal chat. The idea is that people have the opportunity to meet new people for a conversation unrelated to COVID – this gives a way to be distracted from the constant reminders of COVID and bring people out of social isolation while building new friendships.

SAFMH Food Relief - against Hunger

The SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) is the largest national mental health organisation in South Africa. As a national organisation we serve to empower mental health care users and mental health organisations nationwide, advocate for the human rights of mental health care users, develop and disseminate credible mental health information and create much needed awareness of mental health so as to reduce stigma and discrimination towards mental health care users.

Mental health service users and their families who are in dire need of humanitarian aid. They are caught in a poverty-disability trap and face hunger as an extreme result of unemployment or underemployment made considerably worse by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and extended lockdown.

Food parcels are delivered to the homes of our beneficiaries, sparing them the indignity of having to queue for food in public places, lessening the risk of contracting COVID-19, and offering them hope and a sense of community. Each food hamper is filled with nutritious food and costs R400.00 to feed a family of 6 individuals living is historically disadvantaged communities.

The food parcels bring real and immediate relief to hungry families, improving the nutrition and physical well-being of vulnerable children, youth, adults and elderly persons who benefit from our food parcels, and boosting their resilience and immunity to disease.

Both crowdfunding campaigns can be visited via this link: 

You can make your donation online:


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Latest news

Expert opinion on proposed change in Ukrainian mental health legislation

Legal changes have been suggested at the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, with regards to compulsory psychiatric treatment that severely infringe on the rights of persons with mental illness and are in direct violation with the international commitments of Ukraine.

In order to help make sure that these changes are not accepted by the Verkhovna Rada "Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP" has decided to send a detailed analysis to all those responsible in Ukraine, including chairs of various committees of the Verkhovna Rada.

The English version of the expert opinion can be downloaded here

The Ukrainian version of the exper opinion can be downloaded here

Read more

Global society is experiencing the biggest crisis Since the Second World War. The resulting stress and anxiety undermines the psychological well-being of individuals, families, and communities. People with psychosocial disability, and the staff who provide care, are particularly vulnerable. FGIP is actively engaged in providing that support. For more information click here