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2007 National Disabled Members' Conference
6 July 2007

Conference welcomes the publication of The DRC’s Mental Health Advisory Group’s Report ‘Coming Together – mental health, equality and human rights’

This Report notes that discrimination and unequality systematically destroy people’s mental health. People with long term mental health conditions face some of the most severe exclusion in Britain, including an 80 per cent unemployment rate and a high likelihood of dying young, from preventable illnesses. The Report calls on The Commission for Equality and Human Rights and Government to:

Promote equality

Ensure that institutional discrimination is rooted out. Mental health conditions and use of mental health services should not be bars to employment, jury service, voting, or being an MP, magistrate or company director. The Disability Equality Duty should be used to close gaps of inequality between people with mental health conditions and other citizens, with regular tracking of progress.

Promote human rights

People should be able to decide where they live and what treatment they receive (with a few rare exceptions). The purpose of health and social services should be to support people’s participation in family, community, social, educational and economic life.

Promote good relations

Prejudiced and disparaging statements by politicians and the media that equate mental health conditions with violence should be challenged. Agencies, from mental health services to the Crown Prosecution Service and courts, should provide access to justice and believe people with mental health conditions who report crimes.

Be exemplary

The new equality commission’s own employment, service delivery and communications should be exemplary with regard to mental health and should involve people with mental health conditions across all strands of work.

Conference supports these goals and believes that these aims can only be achieved through improving tangible rights and opportunities for people with mental health conditions. Conference therefore calls on the NDMC to work with the DRC, and to lobby the CEHR and Government to;

1.Promote a culture of equality and human rights

2.Bring an end to child poverty

3.Increase life chances through learning and skills

4.End poverty and widen employment opportunity

5.Increase democratic participation and active citizenship

6.Develop a social care system fit for the future

7.Tackle health inequalities

8.Meet the future housing challenge

9.Build stronger, safer communities