Friday, 18 January 2019 16:17

Discrimination against people with mental illness is a key part of the Royal Commission into Mental Health

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is urging the Victorian Government to include discrimination against people with mental illness and the role of Victoria’s equal opportunity and human rights laws in the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into Mental Health.

Disability discrimination is the most common issue raised in the enquiries and complaints that we receive each year, and issues related to mental health are a significant proportion of those enquiries and complaints.

In our submission to the Royal Commission, we recommend that the terms of reference include:

  • discrimination against, and other violations of the rights of, people with mental illness
  • the role of equal opportunity and human rights law, including the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, in improving the lives of people with mental illness.

The submission gives examples of complaints involving discrimination against people with mental illness, such as employers failing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate an employee’s mental health, or employees facing heightened scrutiny of their work performance after revealing their mental health to their employers. In other instances, schools and universities have refused reasonable adjustments for students with mental illness, including refusing to extend deadlines and timeframes for sitting exams.

A number of our current and recent projects explore the impact of disability discrimination involving people with mental illness, including research on cultural rights as a protective factor for mental health, work on ensuring the human rights of people with mental illness are upheld in closed environments, and an investigation into mental health discrimination in the travel insurance industry, due for completion in mid-2019.

We welcome the Royal Commission into Mental Health and believe it will be an important catalyst for change, helping to improve the lives of people with disability, and also the lives of their families and carers.

Read the Commission’s full submission on the Royal Commission’s terms of reference

Participate in the consultation on the terms of reference via Engage Victoria

Media contact

Megan Breen
Mobile:
0447 526 642
Email: megan.breen@veohrc.vic.gov.au  

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