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Mental Illness

Mental illness affects up to one in five Australians at some time in their lives.  Most mental illnesses are treatable. Even chronic illnesses can often be brought under good control so that that the person can lead a normal life.

Discrimination against someone because they have a disability, which includes any kind of illness, is illegal. In general, a person with a mental illness has the same right to take part in public life as anyone else. A person should not be treated unfavourably in

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Providing Goods and Services
  • Accommodation
  • Clubs and Associations
  • Granting Qualifications
  • Advertising
  • Selling Land

There are some situations where mental illness can be taken into account. For example, if a person can't do a job adequately and safely because of their illness, and the problem can't be solved by making reasonable changes to the job, then it isn't against the law for the employer not to employ them. However, it is discrimination if an employer assumes someone will be unable to do a job because they have, or have had, a mental illness.

The law restricts the freedom of mentally ill people only if they are in danger, or dangerous to others. Even so, they still have rights. More information is available from the Office of the Public Advocate or the Guardianship Board.

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