New WHO QualityRights e-training: Advancing Mental Health, Eliminating Stigma, and Promoting Inclusion


Written by Michelle Funk, Natalie Drew Bold, Celline Cole, Emily McLoughlin, and Maria Francesca Moro

On April 12, Dr Tedros, Director General of the World Health Organization, launched the new WHO QualityRights e-training on mental health, recovery and community inclusion, together with Dr Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, several Ministers of Health, and other high-level representatives from countries, UN organizations, and civil society groups.

QualityRights is the World Health Organization’s global initiative to improve the quality of care in mental health and related services and to promote the rights of people with mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities. The major areas of work at the core of the QualityRights initiative are:

  • Building capacity among all stakeholders to improve attitudes and practices to address stigma and discrimination and promote human rights and recovery
  • Supporting countries in the creation of community-based services and supports that respect and promote human rights
  • Promoting the participation of persons with lived experience and supporting civil society
  • Supporting national policy and law reform in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and other international human rights standards

Through the QualityRights initiative, WHO has developed a range of training and guidance tools and materials to strengthen knowledge and build capacity on rights and recovery.1 One of the key tools developed is the QualityRights e-training on mental health, recovery and community inclusion. The e-training is currently available free of cost in the following 11 languages: English, Spanish, French, Armenian, Bosnian, Czech, Estonian, Filipino, Italian, Polish, and Turkish. More languages will be added, including Arabic, Ukrainian, Bengali, Croatian, Indonesian, and Nepali.

Sign up for the WHO QualityRights e-training here:

An evaluation of e-training implementation to date has demonstrated highly significant shifts in attitudes aligned with reduced stigma and discrimination and the need to end coercive practices and promote self-determination and legal capacity. These results highlight the effectiveness of the e-training in bringing about the required change in mindsets and attitudes to advance mental health, eliminate stigma and discrimination, and promote person-centred, rights-based approaches in mental health.

The e-training content is relevant to all stakeholders including health and social care providers, policy makers, humanitarian workers, OPD’s, NGO’s, family and care partners, and people with lived experience. It covers six core and two advanced case study modules (see Box 1) using different types of learning materials like short videos and information sheets, as well as discussion forums where learners can exchange experiences, learn from each other, and ask questions. Once all six modules are completed, an official WHO certificate of completion is awarded to the learner.

The WHO QualityRights e-training consists of six modules.

All service providers, people with lived experience, and other stakeholder groups including the community at large around the world are encouraged to take the QualityRights e-training and also to share the information and link to the QualityRights e-training with others in their wider networks. This will help ensure a new and much needed approach in service provision where the treatment, care, and support provided are rights-based and recovery oriented.

The WHO highly values the partnership and support of Mad in America in its efforts to promote and implement a rights-based approach and recovery orientation in mental health. Through collaboratively spreading the QualityRights e-training in all countries, a transformation of mental health services can be achieved.

Show 1 footnote

  1. For an overview of all WHO QualityRights training and guidance materials, please visit:


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. It’s possibly good to know that the WHO is garnering insight into the staggering human rights violations, crimes, and the psychiatric holocaust of our modern day psychiatric and psychological industries.

    I’m glad you are working with MiA, Michelle. I hope you actually garner insight into the fact that forced or coerced treatment of anyone, with any drug, is a human rights violation. Although the WHO’s Covid coerced and forced treatment recommendations, for all of humanity, does not leave me with much hope for the WHO’s proper future behavior.

    I hope you prove my now cynical, but well educated, self wrong. But I’m pretty certain you can’t.

    Report comment

    • Fair comment. However the WHO trying to have a vast “consensus opinion” on such matters may go against “the individual’s own opinion”, which I feel is more important.

      What is occurring now has always been occurring. A civilization in order to be what it is uses “consensus opinion” in pursuit of equality, inclusion and fairness, but by the very fact that each individual has to put their own harmless free choice through the mangle of “consensus opinion” first, to get their desire ratified, makes “consensus opinion” seem like a big bully. Soon revolutionaries form an opposing “consensus opinion”, one that calls the civilization manipulative and stultifying against individual free thought and free feeling. Soon these two groups with their separate “consensus opinion creeds” lock horns in a bloody battle over dominance. Each group, in the separate “consensus opinion” needs muscle and so a call is put out to get stray individuals to “side with” the “consensus opinion” group. But to side with that conglomerate means jettisoning being a lovely free spirit or recluse or eccentric. One must become a puppet on a string instead. Choose your puppet master becomes the frightening only choice to the individual. To be safe means getting rid of your own ideas. Some of your ideas may be ones of tolerance or forgiveness. But whilst one “consensus opinion” group is wanting to crush the opposing “consensus opinion” group your individual tolerance and forgiveness looks to them like betrayal, treachery, high treason. It then becomes risky to be just an individual. The old civilization as depository of “consensus opinion”, manifesting in its very architecture, rules of conduct, regulations and so on is to be errased in order for a new paradigm or new civilization to prosper, one that cares about liberty. The penny never drops that a civilization by its very nature is probably never going to put your individual wishes front and centre. This is due to how ALL civilizations run on “consensus opinion” and that is problematic for an individual quirky change of opinion.

      What happens when a civilization is bulldozed to make room for a new civilization is that the architecture is preserved more than the people. The gilded palaces are not reduced to rubble and dust even as the homes and dwellings of the little people are gutted and charred. Why is this? It is because there rolls in to town an unnatural haste to build an imposing counter civilization. It has the need to impose imperious laws against the individual’s freedom of choice to quash any lingering loyal factions of the old civilization. So the individual is unwelcome in the old civilization and unwelcome in the new civilization. The individual eeks out a bit of private emancipation behind closed doors. The more that any civilization champions privacy for its citizens the better.

      What often happens when an old civilization gets booted into history is later people “romanticise” aspects of it. This is because certain things in that civilization actually did work really rather well. Fripparies like the good idea of roman baths or form fitting roman togas rather than pin stripe suits or Egyptian chariots rather than cars, or owning a plot of acreage to grow your own veg on rather than monoculture or genetically modified crops, and what of music and science of that old civilzation? Maybe their science was better? The science of applying maggots and leeches to clean wounds. Their notions of herbal poultices. What I mean is that when one civilization overthrows another civilization out goes very fine aspects pertaining to individual freedom of choice. We can see this when scanning distant history and old swaps from one civilization to the next, but we cannot recognize this going on in the civilization passing away before our very eyes. We cannot see what we are losing as we pack up the crates and boxes and board up the shops and switch off the music players and burn the art and rend the novels of that passing away civilization. Our individual choice that might balk at “having to” get rid of things that are innocuous that we like becomes a bone of contention to the replacement “consensus opinion” or new civilization. Suddenly a whole library of scrolls needs hidden in a desert cave while libraries are torched. Being an individual is an empowerment that seems threatening to any “consensus”.
      ….unless it is a “consensus opinion” that loves everyone having the right to be an individual.

      Humanity is mothballing the civiluzation that is of the end of the nineteen nineties. But for all its flaws there were also some important visions in that civilization. The sense of romantic love, as heard in its pop music has now become a mocked form of masculinity and femininity. Hook up culture and pornhub are the new versions of liberty. I am not sure that such “liberty” is not actually the death of freedom. The freedom to walk through town unmolested. Some things in an old civilization will be abandonned that perhaps should not be. We may look back to the old civilization and see the baths and togas and chariots as good ideas from free thinking individuals that got replaced by less fine “consensus opinion” choices.

      We are about to turn the civilization we are currently in into wrack and ruin in order to build something better, but as will all such initiatives, the “consensus opinion” may not warm to retaining what each individual likes. We will know the measure of such passing away details when we have lost them to history. Loss is how we recognize the ideas that were harmless artistic treasure. The loss is part of how we rebuild civilizations. If we do not acknowledge the loss and the importance of time honoured human values then the civilzation we will build will meet with the same destiny as the one being kicked out of the way.

      I am barely aware of what I am writing. I just feel that not everything disposed of in pursuit of utopia ought to be disposed of. Not all progress is heaven sent.


      Progress can often be irritataion at having to cater to individual free choices. That progress is not progress.

      True progress follows BALANCE. A balance between individual freedom of choice and consensus opinion.

      In a biodiverse Cosmic Garden….


      Report comment


    The passing away of old traditions often involves the removal of what later generations hope to find.This elder man in the song is the keeper of an era where you could leave your door open all day without fear of being robbed by your neighbour. In the rush to quit what was unwholesome about the past humans chuck everything of the past, even its emotional integrity or bright ideas or common sense. Humans think these are easy to establish in a new paradigm. But these qualities come from individual’s who are full of wellbeing. Wellbeing comes from the freedom to be who you are and from accepting your feelings and enjoying your free choices.There is no wellness without these essentials. A new paradigm should take into heart these essentials. Humans feel the lack of them and then look to the past to time travel back to that bliss. For some they time travel back to mannerly Victorian mores. For others they time travel back to a revolution. For yet others they time travel back to wistful cave painting tribal eras. Nostalgia hold the key to wellbeing sometimes. Yet humans think wellness is only found in the future, in progress.

    I myself yearn for the ease of the nineteen seventies. It seems we are marching into a future that forgets romantic love.

    The global calander is going to be made radically different in the future we are jourrneying towards.

    That future will make the nineteen seventies look like the treasure we lost. The BALANCE we lost.

    But worry not…for one day BALANCE will come back.

    Report comment