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Fighting for equality and human rights

On this page, we talk about our work making sure everyone is treated equally when receiving mental health treatment.


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 have bee discriminated against by:

  • employers
  • landlords
  • service providers like shops, restaurants or insurance companies
  • public bodies like a local council, the police or the NHS
  • anyone else in society. 

You may also experience abuse of your human rights, like being treated without basic dignity in hospital.

Our Policy and Campaigns team are working hard to make sure this changes. Take a look at some of the areas they're focusing on.

Inequalities affecting racialised communities

Members of racialised communities have told us about their experiences of racism when using mental health services. They highlighted a lack of cultural sensitivity, especially when staying in hospital. Those of us from some racialised communities tend to:

  • remain in mental health wards for longer
  • be less included in hospital life
  • be more likely to be physically restrained or isolated.

1. Campaigning for a fairer Mental Health Act

Black people are far more likely to be detained under mental health laws than any other group. We’ve been campaigning to see the Mental Health Act rebuilt so that:

  • fewer people are detained
  • the law to better protects people’s dignity, autonomy and human rights. 

We’d also like to see race equality promoted across mental health services to help make sure that everyone can get the care they need, regardless of background.

Our work on the Mental Health Act

2. Campaigning against the use of force in mental health settings

In some areas, people in mental health settings still experience unnecessary force and restraint daily. And we know that it affects Black men more than anyone else. That’s why we supported the introduction of ‘Seni’s Law’, which led to better training for staff and better data to understand how often force is being used.

Our work on Seni’s law

Campaigning for human rights

The Human Rights Act 1998 is an essential law to protect and promote our rights and make sure we're all treated fairly and without prejudice. We believe it helps make our shared values a reality – values like equality, dignity, justice and freedom. We campaign to make sure those values are protected.

Our work in action

We've been closely watching how the Government's using their emergency powers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. And we've been calling for action to make sure that people can still access their rights over treatment and get the social care they're entitled to. You can find out more by reading our response to a parliamentary inquiry into human rights and coronavirus.

Read our response to the inquiry

Campaigning for a better Equality Act

Too many people with mental health problems tell us that they don't know if they're protected against discrimination at work. That's especially true for people who have conditions that change over time.

Our work in action

Since 2016 we've been campaigning for the Government to reform the Equality Act. We want it to be clearer that all people with mental health problems can be protected from discrimination at work.

Discover our work on the Equality Act

Fighting discrimination in the benefits system

We challenge discrimination against people with mental health problems in the benefits system through our legal and campaigning work. 

Our work in action

In 2017, the Government introduced changes to disability benefits that discriminated against people with mental health problems. We supported a legal challenge brought by someone known as ‘RF’ represented by the Public Law Project. Because of RF’s case, the Government’s changes were scrapped. This means that thousands more people with mental health problems are now entitled to support from disability benefits.

Find out about our work on the benefits system

Got a question? 

Have a question that is not answered here or would like to find out more about something? Get in touch with our Policy and Campaigns team at [email protected].

Get in touch

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