Position Statements and Guidelines

Key to WPA’s mission and work is ensuring the ethical treatment and care of those people around the world suffering from mental ill health – and thus, the ethical behaviour of those providing treatment. Although there may be cultural, social and national differences, the need for ethical conduct and continual review of ethical standards is universal.


As practitioners of medicine, psychiatrists must be aware of the ethical implications of being a physician, and of the specific ethical demands of the specialty of psychiatry. As members of society, psychiatrists must advocate for fair and equal treatment of the mentally ill, for social justice and equity for all.


In this spirit, the WPA has developed ethical guidelines for psychiatric practice (such as the Madrid Declaration) and position statements on topics relevant to psychiatric practice and the role of psychiatrists.

Position Statements & Technical Documents

The WPA produces three types of documents:


  • Technical documents - produced by WPA Sections, Task-forces, WPA or other working groups or by individuals

  • Position statements - prepared by the WPA Executive Committee. These usually present the views of the WPA on public health and social matters relevant to mental health, as well as the functioning of the WPA.

  • Policy statements - such as the Code of Conduct for WPA Officers.​


See WPA's current Position Statements here

See WPA's Other Declarations here 

Other technical documents, policy statements and historical position statements will be added soon.

Ethical Declarations

The Declaration of Hawaii issued by the World Psychiatric Association in 1977 and updated in 1983 in Vienna was initiated because of political abuse of psychiatry in some countries in the seventies. This led to a long process of investigation and concern within the domain of professional ethics and paved the way for the Declaration of Madrid, which was endorsed by the General Assembly of the World Psychiatric Association in Madrid in 1996.


In its final form, the Declaration of Madrid includes seven general guidelines that focus on the aims of psychiatry namely to treat mentally ill patients, prevent mental illness, promote mental health and provide care and rehabilitation for mentally ill patients.


Click here for the current Declaration of Madrid

Click here for related historical documents

About WPA
The WPA is the global association representing 140 psychiatric societies in 120 countries, and bringing together more than 250,000 psychiatrists.  It promotes collaborative work in psychiatry through its 70+ scientific sections, education programs, publications and events. 
Quick Links
Follow Us
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
© 2019 WPA All Rights Reserved