Mental Health Policy

Are Americans with mental illness adequately protected?


When lawmakers passed the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of their goals was protecting workers with psychiatric impairments from job discrimination. But many employers have been confused by the law, or hostile to it. This spring, to clarify the ADA, guidelines detailing employers' rights and responsibilities under the ADA were issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mental health advocates praise the rules, but business groups say they invite frivolous and costly lawsuits. The debate is part of a larger controversy over mental health policy that includes insurance “parity” for mental illness. Advocates say parity offers civil-rights protection for the mentally ill. Critics charge it intrudes on free enterprise.

Regina DuVall, who has a brain disorder, is employed by the National Alliance for the ...

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