The Facts, Myths and Laws on Mental Health

Mental health myths and facts

  • Myth:Mental health problems are very rare.
  • Fact:1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • Myth:People with mental illness aren’t able to work.
  • Fact:We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Myth:Young people just go through ups and downs as part of puberty, it’s nothing.
  • Fact:1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem
  • Myth:People with mental health illnesses are usually violent and unpredictable.
  • Fact:People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence.
  • Myth:It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.
  • Fact:Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.
  • Myth:People with mental health problems don’t experience discrimination
  • Fact:9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination

Equality Act and Mental Health

The Equality Act protects people from discrimination. It brings together the law that was found in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), the Race Relations Act, and the Sex Discrimination Act.

It protects people from being discriminated against because of certain characteristics, such as gender, age or disability. You might not think of yourself as disabled, but if your mental health condition has a serious impact on your day-to-day life over a long period then it might be considered a disability under this law.

The Equality Act applies to all employers in the UK. It also covers contract workers, office holders and business partners. It is a very detailed law, and Mind has produced a Legal briefing called ‘Disability discrimination under the Equality Act‘ which explains how it works. Some of the most important things to know about it are:

  • An employer must not treat a disabled person less favourably than another employee because of disability.
  • It is wrong for your employer to treat you badly because they think that you have a disability
  • It is wrong to treat you unfavourably where this is linked to disability.
  • Employers must make reasonable adjustments to work practices, and provide other aids and adaptations, for disabled employees.
  • The law covers you during recruitment, employment and if you are being dismissed for any reason, including redundancy
  • Employers are not allowed to use ‘pre-employment questionnaires‘ to ask about your health before you are offered a job

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