CEHR must tackle mental health discrimination, urges Mental Health Action Group

Tackling discrimination against people with long-term mental health conditions will be a major test for the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights, a mental health advisory group said yesterday.

In a report, the Mental Health Action Group, which advises the Disability Rights Commission, said unemployment among people with mental health conditions was 80% and people with mental health problems were more likely to experience homelessness and die young from preventable diseases than the general population.

The CEHR will take over the functions of the DRC, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Equal Opportunities Commission in October.

Abina Parshad Griffin, chair of MHAG, said “Racism and discrimination affect mental health; and then discrimination on mental health grounds and poverty often follow in a vicious cycle. That is why we welcome the CEHR. It could break the cycle by addressing mental health and equality across all programmes of work.”

The report, Coming together: mental health, equality and human rights, sets out nine priorities for the new commission, starting with a focus on promoting a culture of equality.

It suggests the duty on public bodies to promote disability equality be used as a tool to involve people with mental health conditions in judging whether inequalities are being reduced.

However, last week, the DRC said government plans to reform the duty would weaken its force.

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