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 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:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
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.