Our work on people's rights & equality

The experiences of people with mental health problems

Many of you have told us you regularly face prejudice and discrimination, denying you the opportunity to live your life to the full. You might be discriminated against by employers, landlords, service providers like shops, restaurants or insurance companies, public bodies like a local council, the police or the NHS, or anyone in society.

Sometimes you also experience abuse of your human rights - being treated without basic dignity in hospital, not being taken seriously when you’re the victim of a crime, or forced to take medication without your consent.

The Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 are vital laws that exist to safeguard your rights and ensure you are treated fairly and without prejudice. When they work as intended, they help make our shared values a reality – values like equality, dignity, justice and freedom.

However, the Government has been looking at ways to change the protection provided by these vital laws. Any move to weaken these protections would be a serious backward step.

What are we doing?

We’ve been working in partnership with many other organisations to defend our existing equality and human rights protections to ensure you remain protected from discrimination and are treated fairly, equally and with dignity and respect.

  • We responded to both consultations from the Commission on a Bill of Rights to tell them why the Human Rights Act is so vital for people with mental health problems [link to both responses]. 96 per cent of respondents said they wanted to keep the Human Rights Act as it is. This was key in convincing two of the commissioners to disagree with the majority view – a key victory for us. They explain their decision here [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n01/philippe-sands/in-defence-of-rights].
  • We’re a key partner in a new coalition Equally Ours which aims to shape the national conversation and help the public better understand why our human rights are so important and why we should all be proud of them.
  • We responded to the review of the Public Sector Equality Duty and met with the Government Equalities Office to explain why the duty is so important for disabled people. You can see a range of responses to the review here, including our joint response by a group of disability charities [http://www.edf.org.uk/blog/?p=22172].

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