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Leading disability rights advocate to speak at BPS annual conference 

18 March 2019

Leading advocate of disability rights Liz Sayce OBE will share her insights on the effects of inequality on those living with mental health issues at the British Psychological Society annual conference, Harrogate (1-2 May).

Liz has worked tirelessly through a career spanning more than 25 years for better access to work and a fairer society for disabled people. 

She is currently chair of the Commission for Equality in Mental Health, hosted by the Centre for Mental Health, and has held top posts for some of the UK’s largest equality organisations, leading the way in campaigning for disabled people’s equal right to work and a normal life. 

In her BPS annual conference keynote 'Equality and recovery: policies and practices to enable people with mental distress to have a life,' Liz will focus on how inequalities in society affect people living with mental health problems.

This reflects the theme of this year’s conference, which is the psychological impact of inequality.

Liz’s major influences include helping to change UK law to make discrimination against disabled people illegal and her leadership on a 2011 independent review into Government-led disability employment programmes.

She said:

“If you are diagnosed with a mental health condition, your chances of having a decent life are affected fundamentally by equality – or inequality. 

You may experience poor or late access to mental health support and treatment, perhaps linked to your age, ethnicity or learning disability. You may feel you don’t fully ‘belong’ in the services offering you support, perhaps because of your sexual orientation or faith. 

On top of that, your chances of getting a life in a way that works for you are affected by issues that are nothing directly to do with treatment and therapy services, like social security, housing, employment and more.

These systemic inequalities can change. There are sometimes small-scale examples that show how greater equality can be pursued.

The key question is how to overcome barriers to implementing and scaling them; and what policy framework might enable that to happen. The Commission on Equality in Mental Health is identifying and will publish approaches to do exactly that.”


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