Home > Discrimination Issues > Combating Mental Illness Discrimination

Combating Mental Illness Discrimination

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 7 Aug 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Mental Illness Mental Health

Around 25% of Britain’s population will be affected by mental illness at some point during their lives. In the UK there are laws laid out to protect against mental health discrimination.

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Although there are laws in place that prohibit mental illness discrimination this type of prejudice still regularly occurs. Nine out of ten people who have been affected by mental illness claim they have encountered discrimination. A recent survey by the mental health charity Rethink found that family and employers were the least accepting groups. An astounding 92% of the public think that having a mental illness would damage a person’s career chances. Mental illness discrimination is a major problem that stops sufferers from applying for jobs or even leaving the home.

The Public’s Perception of Mental Illness

Films dealing with mental illness have been cited as having a negative effect on the public’s perception of mental illness sufferers. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been named as the most influential when it comes to people’s perceptions of those with mental problems. Certain films have tried to put across a positive message such as A Beautiful Mind, Girl Interrupted and more recently The Soloist. Films are seen as reinforcing the stereotypes of those suffering mental health problems. This type of prejudice adds to the stigma attached to those with mental health problems.

The Law and Mental Illness Discrimination

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 does cover mental illness but there are certain stipulations. Legal protection will apply when the mental illness counts as a disability. The stipulations for this are:

  • The illness has lasted for 12 months or more
  • The illness is likely to last 12 months or be recurring
  • Past illnesses will still come under the discrimination act if they meet the 12 month rule
  • Previous problems will also count if they have or still have an adverse effect on daily activities
  • Adverse effects can include problems with memory, concentration, speech etc

Employers and Mental Illness Discrimination

An employer would not be able to discriminate against those who have suffered from mental health problems under the Disability Discrimination Act. Employees are not legally required to inform employers of their health history but if asked by an employer it would be unwise to lie. An employee who has been untruthful about their health problems can be dismissed under a cause of gross misconduct. Employers who are classed as having this type of disability cannot be treated unfairly unless there is a justifiable reason.

Services Discrimination and Mental Illness

The Insurance industry has been named as one sector where discrimination against those with mental illness still occurs. The Disability Discrimination Act is supposed to prevent people with mental illnesses from being treated unfairly when it comes to services, goods and facilities. For example, insurers cannot apply higher premiums to those with mental health problems unless it is justifiable. A complaint should be made to the Financial Ombudsman if higher premiums or outright refusal of services has taken place.

Combating Mental Illness Discrimination

There are many charities and mental health groups which are helping to raise people’s awareness of mental health issues. Organisations such as Rethink and Mind are two of the major charities that exist in the UK. Time to Change is another mental health programme with the main objective of ending mental illness discrimination. Changing the public’s attitudes towards those with mental health problems is another of the main objectives of the Time to Change programme. This organisation also hopes to decrease mental illness discrimination in the UK by 5% by the year 2012.

Mental illness discrimination is seen as one of the most common discrimination types in the UK. The stigma associated with mental illness can ruin people’s lives and can add to the pressures felt by mental illness sufferers. This type of discrimination is an ongoing problem. Educating the public and eradicating the stigma are two ways to combat mental illness discrimination. Discrimination should never be tolerated and those who do practise discrimination can face serious legal consequences.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi interesting site Can you confirm what law in the UK is similar to the colour of Law in the US Myself and other people are being harassed cyberstalked by the Neighbourhood Watch Networks in around the UK?
Chain - 7-Aug-20 @ 9:10 AM
Hi i need some advice on being discriminated by your housing association because i have mental health and mobility issues. I am always the one that seems to be doing wrong when I done nothing wrong. I feel that due to my issues my voice will never be heard. I am currently having problems with the tenants below due to the noise as I live in a old victorian house which is converted into 4 flats however when they were converted they put insufficientinsulation between the floor and ceilings. I live on eggshells and the tenants below come up constantly being abusive aggressive and intimidating to me but because they work and dont have any disabilities they are believed straight away and I am guilty and given no opportunity to have my say. I am now on a housing injunction and it's making my mental health worse. I don't know what to do or where to start to get help
BriNKey - 10-Oct-19 @ 9:29 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Donna
    Re: Acting Against Discrimination
    I would like to seek advice on a racial hate crimes from the police. The police assault me since the assault they have lied on…
    23 November 2020
  • MarkyTM
    Re: Rights If Your Child is Arrested
    My son is 17, 18 in early December Last year I had the police call a round a total of 10 times (assault, criminal damage,…
    20 November 2020
  • Johnny
    Re: The Police and Your Civil Rights
    Under English common law rights. I have been told that I'm should give my details to the police. Just looking at the moment…
    17 November 2020
  • Non
    Re: Challenging the Police
    I witnessed and reported the murder of my English friend. The GMP have concluded a murder case without interviewing the complainant or the…
    3 November 2020
  • Irina
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    Can I close the M1 with group of people to protest against genocide that is happening right now ?
    16 October 2020
  • Tinah
    Re: Rights If Your Child is Arrested
    Hi my 16 year old son was stopped by one police officer on his motorbike for looking suspicious! He smelt cannabis and…
    5 October 2020
  • Liz
    Re: The Police and Your Civil Rights
    Call 999 due to an altercation with ex husband and in-law , they came out starting commenting on the house my son and…
    3 October 2020
  • JohnDoe
    Re: Civil Rights in the Uk
    We are all being being watched by the government and big companies especially over the internet. Those who don't believe in the big…
    28 September 2020
  • Al68
    Re: Protecting Your Privacy
    We moved into our house during 2011, for the first few years life was idealic. We had a semi private patio & a relatively private place…
    31 August 2020
  • Traditionalist
    Re: Staging a Legal Peaceful Protest
    Sod this legal right to protest disrupting the normal life and will of the majority.
    28 August 2020