Equalities and Mental Health – some facts and figures
People from our diverse communities are some of the most likely to experience mental distress. For example:
• Rates of inpatient admission are around three times higher than average for Black ethnic groups in England
• Among women, rates of all common mental disorders (except phobias) are higher in the South Asian group
• Three quarters of suicides are male
• Gay and bisexual men are over four times more likely than heterosexual men to attempt suicide
• More than a quarter of gay men and almost a third of lesbians have self-harmed deliberately
• An estimated 25-40% people with learning difficulties also have mental health problems
(source: National Mental Health Development Unit)
For more information about different equality strands and mental health, please see the specific sections of this website.
Equalities monitoring – why it’s important
The collection and application of equalities data is important as analysis of this can demonstrate the mental health needs of our communities. In many cases, information such as sexual orientation or faith are not routinely collected by service providers. However, this leads to a situation where the needs of some communities may be ignored.
Traditionally, issues such as religion or sexual orientation have been seen as a private matter. However, as the Equality and Human Rights Commission state, for example:
“without clearer evidence on where lesbian, gay and bisexual people live, where they work, what their experiences and needs of public services are – we a missing a vital piece of the jigsaw. Evidence is the key to making services reflect everyone’s experiences and meet their needs.”
Information about the Equality Act (2010)
The act replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act to make the law simpler and to remove inconsistencies. This makes the law easier for people to understand and comply with. The act also strengthened protection in some situations.
The act covers nine protected characteristics, which cannot be used as a reason to treat people unfairly. Every person has one or more of the protected characteristics, so the act protects everyone against unfair treatment. They protected characteristics are:
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• religion or belief
• sexual orientation
Most of the provisions came into force in October 2010. Further provisions came into force in April 2011. It requires public sector bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
To find out more, please go to http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/new-equality-act-guidance/equality-act-starter-kit/
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