Office for Disability Issues: Mentally ill are worst off among disabled

People with mental health problems are significantly more disadvantaged than other disabled people, according to an Office for Disability Issues survey published yesterday.

The survey of the experiences and expectations of almost 2,000 disabled people found that while 43% of respondents of working age were in work, this applied to just 16% of those with mental health conditions. They also had the lowest median incomes of all groups responding to the survey.

While 12% of respondents felt they had been treated unfairly or discriminated against because of their impairment, this applied to 35% of people with mental health conditions. More than a quarter of people with mental health problems of working age felt they had not got a job they had applied for because of their condition, compared to 15% on average.

The research, carried out last summer, was the first comprehensive survey of disabled people’s lives since 2001. Overall, it found there was “only limited evidence” that inequalities between disabled and non-disabled people had closed from 2001-7.

Though employment rates had risen, from 39% to 43% of working-age adults, this compares to 74% for the general population.

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