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. 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 are focusing on.
People from BAME communities have told us about their experiences of racism when using mental health services, including when staying in hospital, and a lack of cultural sensitivity. We know that people from some BAME communities are tending to stay on mental health wards for longer and be less included in ward life. They are also more likely to be physically restrained or isolated
Black people are far more likely to be detained under mental health legislation than any other group. We’ve been campaigning to see the Mental Health Act overhauled so that fewer people are detained and so that the law better protects people’s dignity, autonomy and human rights. We also need to see changes to mental health services to promote race equality and make sure that everyone can get the care they need.
In some areas people in mental health settings are still subjected to unnecessary force and restraint on a daily basis, 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.
The Human Rights Act 1998 is a vital law that exists to protect and promote your rights and ensure you are treated fairly and without prejudice. We believe it helps make our shared values a reality – values like equality, dignity, justice and freedom, and we campaign to ensure those values are protected.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic we’ve been closely monitoring the Government’s use of emergency powers and 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.
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 which change over time. Since 2016 we’ve been campaigning for the Government to reform the Equality Act so that it's clear that all people with mental health problems can be protected from discrimination at work.
Through our legal and campaigning work we challenge discrimination against people with mental health problems in the benefits system. 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’ who was represented by the Public Law Project. Because of RF’s case, the Government’s changes were scrapped and thousands more people with mental health problems are now entitled to support from disability benefits.