The act also tries to ensure that disabled people have access to public buildings and spaces, and also to the workplace. So how do these various acts affect people afflicted with schizophrenia? For example, does schizophrenia, and the stigma that is attached to it, make it even harder for those in an already difficult situation? After all, those of us working with this illness have a pressing responsibility to spread the good news, and help others to understand that schizophrenia is a common illness that can affect almost anybody. It is a treatable disability and most of us would know someone who is a sufferer, but these facts are largely unknown. Or, as Gwen Howe states in ‘Working With Schizophrenia’:
“Few people realize that there is no redress for disabled people, no equivalent of the Sex Discrimination Act or the Race Relations Act exist and any disabled person can be discriminated against with impunity…All in all, discrimination in employment against individuals who have suffered a schizophrenic illness is disturbingly common. Most sufferers do not reach the interview stage of recruitment if they are truthful on their application forms.”
So to conclude, one could state that this is just one example of discrimination towards those with schizophrenia or disabilities in general. Many people, though, are understanding and are willing to help. Yet it is the attitude of employers that could make all the difference in breaking down the barriers that exist in society today. Many employers might see the hiring of disabled people as a burden or hassle; for example, especially if this means ramifications need to be made to the building or workplace. Another fear is the competency of the employee, with the employer maybe feeling under pressure to be politically correct and hire a certain quota of disabled people. Also, would the person need special attention, or fit in with others? The greater understanding of disability could easily dispel these fears by those in positions of authority, and by this greater understanding maybe the barriers that exist and divide us could be broken down.
During the course of this essay I have tried to illustrate my understanding of the different types of disabilities. I have gone into great detail of a mental disability known as schizophrenia, of which I learnt a great deal and enjoyed researching greatly. The more I read up on the subject, the more overwhelmed I became. There is more to this disease than people think, and it was personally an eye opener as to the problems that are encountered by the sufferers. A big problem within society is people’s attitudes towards disabilities. A lot of people are not interested and simply turn a blind eye. I personally have not worked a disabled person, nor do I know of any, but I think it would be a great experience to spend some time with a disabled person and witness the world from their viewpoint.
One of my weaknesses is that I didn’t know much about the equal opportunities act, but I overcame this by remembering what we had learnt in lessons in class. Also, I tried to get as much information as possible, but found that the L.R.C. was not very useful, so I joined other libraries to increase my research potential.
The old adage ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ came to the forefront of my mind during the course of this essay, and my heart went out to the children who we witnessed who suffer from this disability. It made me look at my own family and realise how lucky I am to be free of the unfair and unjust prejudices that are associated with disabilities of any kind. I did this essay to the best of my ability, and overall I found it to be an interesting and challenging topic to be studying.
1. ‘The Treatment of schizophrenia; A Patient’s Perspective’, Volume 38, Number 5. 1987.
2. ‘You and Disability – A Guide for Everyone’. Prepared by the Department of Social Security, 1994.
3. ‘Coping with Disability’. Millicent M. Isherwood. Published by W & R Chambers Ltd, Edinburgh, 1986.
4. ‘Being in a Wheelchair’. Lois Keith. Published by Belitha Press Ltd, London, 1998.
5. ‘Living With Down’s Syndrome’. Jenny Bryan. Published by Wayland Publishers Ltd, London, 1998.
6. ‘The Oxford English Dictionary’. 1999.