Equality Authority launches guides to tackle mental health

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New guides tackling mental health inequality are being launched today by the Equality Authority in partnership with See Change.

The two new publications clearly and simply outline how current law protects the rights of people with mental health problems, and what employers need to do to protect these rights in the workplace.

Download the new guides here:

How the law can help you provides practical information for people with experience of mental health difficulties on their equality rights in employment and access to services. It explains why equality law in Ireland is important for people with experience of mental health difficulties, what the laws says and how people are protected from discrimination and can seek redress.

What the law means for your workplace provides information for employers on their responsibilities towards employees and potential employees with experience of mental health issues. This guide explains the legal requirement on employers to provide reasonable accommodation for employees and potential employees with experience of mental health difficulties. It also provides some good examples of what reasonable accommodation measures can look like in practice, so that people with experience of mental health difficulties can have access to employment, participate or advance in employment and undertake training.

Angela Kerins, Chairperson of the Equality Authority, in launching the leaflets said: “People experiencing mental health problems are protected by equality legislation, but too many people do not realise this. These information guides are a useful starting point, both for people who experience mental health problems and also for employers interested in finding out more about the law and what it means for them. According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. Many of these people will be in employment at the time they experience mental health problems, and so it is imperative that employers understand their obligations to employees who are impacted by mental health difficulties. These guides give practical examples of measures to provide reasonable accommodation to people, as required by law.”

Susan Kelly* said “In my experience when an employer is not supportive about mental health difficulties it can shatter someone’s confidence and self worth with very real personal consequences. In sharp contrast a supportive working environment gives an employer a very loyal hard working employee and it can improve their health no end.”

John Saunders, Director of See Change, said: “People with mental health problems face huge inequality on a daily basis, and this can be especially damaging when it happens within the workplace and when people are accessing services. We hope the publication of these guides will not only provide helpful information, but will also encourage greater discussion on the need to protect the rights of those experiencing mental health problems both within the workplace and when people are buying goods and accessing services.”

*Not her real name

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