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Mentally Ill: Discrimination

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent steps he has taken to reduce levels of discrimination on grounds of mental health; and if he will make a statement. (252447)

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, which this Government have improved and strengthened, particularly through the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, provides a comprehensive set of enforceable rights for disabled people, including those with mental health conditions (who meet the DDA's definition of a disabled person.)

To improve our support for disabled people we have recently been working with MIND (the mental health charity) to pilot flexible Access to Work support for people with fluctuating mental health conditions. Our Employ ability campaign challenges preconceptions and offers practical information and support to help make employing disabled people (including people with poor mental health) as easy as possible.

In addition to this, ‘Improving health and work: changing lives’, the Government's response to Dame Carol Black's review of the health of Britain's working age population, set out a number of measures the Government intend to take to help reduce the stigma and discrimination often associated with poor mental health.

The most prominent current initiative is the development of the first ever cross-Government National Mental Health and Employment Strategy which will specifically focus on issues such as stigma and discrimination. We expect that this strategy will be published in the spring.