Sometimes people are offered a worse service because of their mental health condition. This is called discrimination and, if you experience it when you use services or public functions, you may have a legal right to challenge it.
- The Equality Act 2010 is the law that gives you the right to challenge discrimination. This law may protect you from discrimination when you:
- To get protection under the Equality Act, you usually need to show that your mental health problem is a disability. 'Disability' has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act. To find out if your mental health problem is considered a disability, see our page on disability.
- 'Services' includes services provided by private companies (such as hotels and restaurants), hospitals and government departments.
- A 'public function' is an act or activity taken by a public authority which is not a service; for example, law enforcement or the collection of taxes.
- Organisations and people providing services or public functions have to make adjustments for you if your disability puts you at a disadvantage compared with others who are not disabled, and it is reasonable for them to do so.
- If a public authority has discriminated against you when providing you services or public functions, you might also be able to complain that they have not followed the public sector equality duty.
- If you think you have experienced disability discrimination, there are several things you can do to make a complaint.
- This guide covers discrimination when you use services or public functions from the point of view of a person with a mental health problem.
- This guide applies to England and Wales.
- This guide contains general legal information, not legal advice. We recommend you get advice from a specialist legal adviser or solicitor who will help you with your individual situation and needs. See Useful contacts for more information.
- The legal information in this guide does not apply to children unless specifically stated.
This information was published in February 2018. We will revise it in 2020.