As part of our work on equality and diversity, we are focusing on race, sex, sexuality and disability, because these are key areas that have been associated with mental health problems.
Psychiatry as a profession has a responsibility and a role to alleviate the distress and harm from which people living with disabilities might suffer. Some of the research we have based this on highlights that:
- about 40% of adults with a learning disability also have a mental health problem, more than double that of the general population (Mind 2016a; McManus et al. 2009; Jacobi et al. 2004)
- according to leading deaf health charity SignHealth, up to 50% of the deaf community in Britain experience mental health problems, with rates of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem almost double that of hearing people
- it is now clear that the experience of discrimination and inequality can increase the risk of developing mental illness (Pearce 2019)
- people who are subject to inequality go through life with higher levels of stress and mental distress, which places them at higher risk of attempted suicide and self-harm (Farelly et al. 2015)
- people with learning disabilities have multiple health challenges which are inadequately addressed and have significant premature mortality as a result
- mental illness may result in disability and severe forms of mental illness can lead to a reduction in a person’s life span by as much as 20 years.
The College is currently planning members' events around disability.