The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has this evening launched a report ‘Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal’ which highlights the many disadvantages and inequalities still faced by disabled people, including people with mental health problems, today.
Responding to this, Paul Spencer, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind said:
“We welcome this comprehensive report which shines a light on the wide-ranging issues disabled people encounter. It’s unacceptable that in this day and age, disabled people still face so many disadvantages across so many different areas of their lives compared to non-disabled people.
“The findings echo our own research, particularly when it comes to work and benefits. We’ve found that when you have a mental health problem you face a number of barriers to getting and staying in work, including employer attitudes and a welfare system which focuses on sanctions rather than supporting people back into appropriate work. We know that stopping or threatening to stop someone’s benefits when they’re too unwell to work is cruel, inappropriate, and ineffective at helping them back into employment. We support the Government’s ambition to halve the disability employment gap, but we urgently need to see a radical and meaningful overhaul of the benefits and back-to-work system that focuses on support rather than sanctions, and workplaces that value the contribution disabled employees can make, if this is to become a reality.
“The Government has stated that it is committed to treating mental health and physical health equally, yet if you have a mental health problem you’re less likely to be eligible for benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP). After years of chronic underfunding of mental health services, people are still facing all sorts of daily injustices. Whether that is travelling hundreds of miles from home and loved ones to find a bed in a mental health hospital or waiting months for talking therapies or even being held in a police cell when you’re unwell because there is nowhere else to take you. We are pleased that greater investment has been promised over the next five years but we’re still a long way where we need to be. Cuts to local government funding have put a strain on the support available to people to live well in the community and the cumulative effect of this is that disabled people are still not getting access the holistic care and support they need, when they need it.”