A report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been welcomed by one of the UK’s leading mental health charities for “shining a light” on the issues which disabled people encounter.
Paul Spencer, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Mind, said the study highlights the many disadvantages and inequalities still faced today by disabled people, including people with mental health problems. He added that the report reinforces the need for the Government to drive improvements.
Entitled “Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal”, the report features chapters on six areas of life, including education, work, health, justice and participation in politics. It identifies where progress has been made and where there are still serious issues to be tackled. It also looks the experiences of people with different impairments and how these impact on life chances.
Paul 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. 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 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 after years of chronic underfunding of mental health services, people are still facing all sorts of daily injustices.
“We are pleased that greater investment has been promised over the next five years but we’re still a long way from 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.”
To view the report click here.