Laura Sharman 21 January 2020

Commission calls for action on ‘unequal risk of mental ill health’

Some groups of people have a much higher risk of poor mental health than others, the Commission for Equality in Mental Health has found.

The first briefing paper from the Commission has warned wider injustices in society such as discrimination, exclusion and violence are closely linked to mental health inequalities.

To tackle this inequality, it is calling for action to reduce income inequality, housing insecurity and poor working conditions.

Commission chair Liz Sayce said: ‘Anyone can have a mental health problem, and many of us will during our lives. But our risk of mental ill health is anything but equal.

‘Children from the lowest income families are four times as likely as the wealthiest to have poor mental health by the time they leave primary school. Disabled people and people with physical health problems have far higher rates of mental ill health, not least because they disproportionately experience poverty, isolation and disconnection from their communities.

‘The causes of mental health inequalities are complex. Women face higher risks of mental ill health for many reasons, including the far higher risk of experiencing abuse and violence at home. For LGBT+ communities, discrimination and bullying are major factors in the much higher rate of psychological distress. And for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the UK, racism and oppression are at the heart of the high levels of distress that affect many.’

The Commission will publish its final report later this year, setting out how a system can be built designed for equality.

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