My recent experiences around people with mental health problems being excluded from the nationally lauded Norfolk Joint Strategy for disabled service users (from the Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People, NCODP) engaged to monitor the development of the personalisation programme in Norfolk, have left a furrowed brow and a nasty aftertaste.
In the last stage of my local campaign against this breach of the 'People First' agenda and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, I'd had a positive statement from Norfolk County Council's Adult Social Care representative. However, when it came to the crunch and I tried to present the letter from Norfolk Adult Social Care at the last meeting of the monitoring group, most members of the group themselves were firmly against including people with mental health problems. In addition, two of the group - remember this group comprises physically disabled service users - directly stated they wished to exclusively for 'disabled people with physical and sensory impairments.' The Chair of the group, an officer of NCDOP, adamantly refused to allow me to speak about the letter.
I'm not sure, but the climate in the group and the style of group members' responses felt, to me, like prejudice against people with mental health problems. I'm wondering if there has been any research into mental health being stigmatised and discriminated against by fellow physically and sensory disabled people. Maybe the pan-disability organisations can help out?