Tomorrow, December 3rd, is International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Is depression a disability? I think so, and so do many others who find themselves unable to function normally on a day-to-day basis. This was the conclusion of research carried out by the Depression Alliance and RADAR in support of a report entitled Depression, Disability and Employment sponsored by the Priory Group and launched at the Houses of Parliament back in October.
The Priory Group is now calling on the Government to class depression as a disability to improve people’s opportunities for employment and other forms of social participation.
In other words, depression should be treated as a disability in the same way as physical disabilities, and reasonable adjustments in the workplace made accordingly for those suffering from this illness.
Professor Chris Thompson, chief medical officer at the Priory Group said: “This important research clearly shows most people living with depression think it is disabling. Yet the stark truth is that our systems and services do not seem to have caught up with this recognition.”
Liz Sayce, chief Executive of RADAR and author of the report said: “People with depression face as many barriers as people with physical impairments. We need the mental health equivalent of the ramp and the mobility scooter – simply fair chances and support to live a full life including the chance to work and contribute. Often depression runs like a thread through lives affected by other challenges – from physical ill health to racial discrimination. Supporting people with depression helps people to turn their lives around.”
So, what will I be doing tomorrow?
I for one will be celebrating the achievements and unique talents of all my friends and colleagues that I know who have a disability be it mental or physical. In doing so, I hope to raise awareness of the unmerited stigma, discrimination and ignorance which shrouds this topic and show people that we may be disabled, but, with a little support, we are still very able.
Have a Good Day!
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Depression is covered by the Disability Discrimination. Act. This means, for example, that ‘reasonable adjustments to the work place, or duties must be made where necessary. So, for example, my not having face-to-face contact with Service Users during the first few weeks of my return to work is a ‘reasonable adjustment’ to my duties.
Thank you-that’s a very good example of “reasonable adjustments”. Flexible working, “glide-time” and working from home are other adjustments which can be made if appropriate.