New FRA report: there is a need to improve the fulfilment of the rights of people with mental health problems

FRA launches the second publication of the project on the ‘Fundamental rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems'.

The latest FRA report on the rights of people with mental health problems finds that in most EU Member States they are protected by existing non-discrimination laws and that they benefit from the duty to provide "reasonable accommodation" at work: this means that employers should adapt, for example, work schedules or practices to match the needs of an employee with a mental health problem. However, beyond employment, such as access to housing or goods and services, the protection of the rights of people with mental health problems varies considerably across Member States and could be strengthened.

"Today society still retains barriers that prevent people with mental health problems from benefitting from the same opportunities as everyone else. Our latest research shows that many Members States are now breaking these barriers by providing the legal framework that facilitates people with mental health problems to work," said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum. "Nevertheless, our findings also show that some countries are going much further. It is important that policy makers in other countries to follow suit in extending the duty to provide reasonable accommodation and to make society more inclusive for all its members."

The FRA report released today compares and analyses different conceptions of disability in national and international law. It finds that in the EU people with mental health problems can benefit from the protection provided by the EU's anti-discrimination legislation prohibiting discrimination on grounds of disability.

The report also looks at the duty to provide reasonable accommodation for people with mental health problems. The evidence shows that in most Member States, people with mental health problems may benefit from reasonable accommodation measures at work; indeed, some Member States extend these rights to other areas of daily life, such as education and the provision of goods and services, in line with in international standards, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The FRA recommends that other Member States consider following this example providing even more comprehensive protection.

The FRA is also looking at conducting research on the actual experiences of people with mental health problems and people with intellectual disabilities. The results of this research will be made available in 2012.