Mental health and disability discrimination

Many people think a physical or sensory impairment is a disability and a mental impairment is not. If you have a mental health problem, you may be protected by disability discrimination law.

The law on disability discrimination

If your mental illness has a significant, adverse and long-term effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, it is likely you are protected under disability discrimination law. This includes people who had a disability in the past.

Currently, the law considers the effects of an impairment on the individual. For example, someone with a mild form of depression with minor effects may not be covered. However, someone with severe depression with significant effects on their daily life is likely to be considered as having a disability.

Many people with a mental health condition do not think of themselves as having a 'disability' - but they may have rights supported by disability discrimination law.

There are many different types of mental health conditions which can lead to a disability, including:

What disability discrimination law does

Disability discrimination legislation aims to end discrimination against people with disabilities in a range of circumstances, including in employment, education and the provision of goods and services.

For instance, if a student with a personality disorder was refused entry to college because their disability may make them disruptive, this could be unlawful disability discrimination, unless it can be justified.  

To read more information about everyday circumstances when the law applies, go to:

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