Mental Health Privilege Checklist (neurotypical privilege through the lens of mental illness)

This is compiled from several sources on neurotypical privilege as well as my own experiences with mental illness. I have attempted to relate it directly to mental illness. Some of these privileges overlap with being neurotypical in other ways (non-autistic, non-cognitively-disabled, etc) and being privileged in other ways (race, gender, etc), so it’s just a rough sketch.

  1. When I am seeking a job, I do not have to worry that my mental state/type will be used as a reason not to hire me.
  2. When I have a job, I do not have to worry that I will be fired due to my mental state/type causing me to miss work.
  3. When I am in school, I do not need deadline extensions, alternate assignments, or other accommodations due to my mental state/type.
  4. When I am at work, I do not have to keep silent about my mental state/type for fear of losing my job.
  5. When I go to a social event, I do not have to worry about potential triggers or prepare a contingency plan for what happens if I am put in a state of being unable to function.
  6. I can leave my house any time I am physically up for it, without having to consider the effects on my mental state/type.
  7. If someone touches me non-sexually and non-violently without permission, it may annoy me but will not hinder my ability to function for hours, days, or weeks.
  8. If I feel an emotion daily or near-daily, I can be sure that most of the people I know will understand that emotion and not mistake it for something else.
  9. I do not have to avoid certain movies or shows because exposure to them will hinder my ability to function for hours, days, or weeks.
  10. People who are like me in the way they think and experience emotion are portrayed in a wide range of personalities.
  11. People who are like me in the way they think and experience emotion are not automatically treated as dangerous or broken due to their mental state/type.
  12. When I want to avoid an activity that I don’t like, people don’t try to talk me into it to “help me get over it.”
  13. I do not have to fear being preyed upon due to my mental state/type.
  14. I can share my life with an animal companion without my ability to care for them being called into question due to my mental state/type.
  15. If I am not feeling well and decide to stay in bed, I will likely be believed and not scolded.
  16. I do not have to worry that my mental state/type will make me unable to do household chores.
  17. I do not have to worry that if my house is messy, people will take it as a sign that I should be locked up or have my legal rights taken away.
  18. If I share a strong emotion, I am more likely to receive empathy than for people to dismiss my emotion as ‘not real’ due to my mental state/type.
  19. If I have a medical problem, I do not worry that my doctor will dismiss it as part of my mental state/type.
  20. If I am bullied or abused, people will not assume that my mental state/type means I am at least partially to blame, or that the abuse would stop if I tried harder to behave like someone else.
  21. People of my mental state/type are not generally considered burdensome to our families or to tax-payers.
  22. I do not have to fear being locked up “for my own good.”
  23. I do not have to be careful with my honesty for fear that others will call the authorities on me, despite not breaking laws or causing others harm.
  24. People like me in mental state/type are shown as desirable for romantic and familial relationships.
  25. If I am murdered, my murderer will not be let off because my murder was deemed “an act of mercy,” or given a light sentence because of the stress caused by interacting with me.
  26. I do not have to fear that important decisions about my life will be made by others who are considered more qualified based on their mental state/type.
  27. If someone of my mental state/type can do something well, I will not be punished for being unable to do the same thing well or at all.
  28. People do not constantly tell me that I need to work on the things which I am very bad at, at the expense of things which I am good at and enjoy doing.
  29. I do not have to worry that my mental state/type will be used to invalidate any argument I make.
  30. People do not automatically assume that the best place for people with my mental state/type to live is an institution.
  31. The majority of people who make the laws of my nation share my mental state/type.
  32. My family, friends, and significant others are not told that I am incapable of relating to other human beings.
  33. People do not assume that living in the same household as me is inherently “tragic” or “devastating,” or that my family, friends and partner will need a support group to deal with living with me.
  34. When prospective parents and others speak of wanting a “healthy child,” I know that they mean a child with my mental state/type.
  35. When I say that someone seems like they have the same mental state/type as me, that is never taken as an insult.
  36. If I have a negative trait such as carelessness or selfishness, it won’t be attributed to my mental state/type.
  37. If I have sex with many people or few/no people, it won’t be attributed to my mental state/type.
  38. I know my legal protections will not be taken away due to my mental state/type.
  39. I do not have to avoid things I like doing because I do not have the mental energy for them.
  40. I do not have to disclose my mental state/type to explain my behavior, needs, or emotions, because people already think they make sense.
  41. I do not have to worry that my mental state/type will lead to people disliking me.
  42. I do not have to worry that people are attracted to me due to their perception that my mental state/type will make me easier to control.
  43. I do not have to worry that my mental state/type will be a barrier to having or adopting children, or keeping custody of my children.

Neurotypical Privilege (autistic lens)
Neurotypical Privilege (mental illness lens, similar to this one)
Mental Health is a Privilege