Category Archives: Mental Health Issues

Dear Amber Rudd MP . . . . .

I was asked to send a quick message to the MP, Amber Rudd, who is the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions – taking over from Esther McVey, in the job nobody seems to be any good at!
These messages are in the hopes that she might halt and fix Universal Credit but, when I went to do look at her page, and after reading all the many hundreds of messages sent to her already Amber Rudd MP 25th November, 14:42, I found it so hard to stick to a short message, that I decided to write my message to her on my Blog, here, instead:

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Dear Ms Rudd,

 

It’s pretty clear to the majority of people in this country that the roll-out of Universal Credit has been a deliberate attempt to force people out of the Benefits system.

 

UC can’t be fixed, as it has been deliberately designed to create the very thing that is happening to everybody who has claimed it so far – if they are able to work, then it is forcing them into zero-hour contracts, which never pay enough, or give enough hours, to support a family or, in the case of the vulnerable, ill, or disabled, is forcing them off of the very Benefits they need to survive, into a world of starvation, eventual homelessness, great poverty and, far too often nowadays, suicide.

 

There are now thousands of families who face not only Christmas, but all this coming winter, with the prospect of going very hungry, very cold, and eventually losing their homes!

 

While you enjoyed your delicious fish and chips with those wonderfully privileged students at Rye College, did you think of all those who WON’T have a hot meal this Christmas, due to having no money to pay their rent and electric, or gas, bills, so that, even if they ARE able to get help from the multiple Food Banks springing up all over the country, they’ll not be able to heat up the food provided by those same food banks – places that have multiplied since your government took control, and induced Austerity on to everybody but the Rich – while giving multiple tax breaks to those very same rich individuals and businesses – and, while you were about it, also giving yourselves huge pay rises?

 

Please could you start doing the job you are paid a veritable  fortune to do, and stop Universal Credit before even MORE thousands of people end up homeless and starving?

 

If you can’t completely stop it, then could you at least pause it immediately, and do your best to fix it, so that those who aren’t able to work – like the vulnerable, or severely disabled – get to keep their old benefits until their UC claims have been finally sorted?

 

Could you also make sure that everybody who claims UC are garuanteed not to lose out when their present benefits are changed to UC, as UC is paying out a lot less than their old benefits, due to your government’s cap on Benefits, which your government keep stating was due to Austerity measures – a Cap, we all noticed, you didn’t apply to your own wages – wages paid to you out of the Public Purse?

 

Could you also make sure that those who have to pay rent to a landlord / landlady, are able to still have their Housing Benefit paid directly to that same landlord/lady, so that there is no risk of homelessness, due to insufficient funds?

 

With homelessness at an all time high at the moment, and not nearly enough homes being built to house the people needing them, then surely it is the government’s duty to make sure no more people are forced out of their homes due to the long delay in paying UC?

 

Believe me when I say that even a week is too long a delay for people who have been unable to save anything in case of financial troubles – and I’m talking not only about those already on Benefits, but those who are in work – especially those forced into zero-hours contracts, which is about the only type of work available to them nowadays!

And while I’m writing my wish list to you, could you please stop the terrible Sanctions regime being used with Universal Credit, Sanctions that threaten people into doing things your way, instead of the way in which every human being – and everybody who has to claim any kind of Benefit is a Human Being, despite all of the smear campaigns your government  put out there, to get people thinking that, if you have to claim, then you are a shirker, or a liar, or a cheat – should be treated!

 

No matter what Theresa May says on her question time, the whole World knows that UC is failing the very people that it was supposedly designed to help, so please, please, show some empathy and compassion, for once, and help those that really do need that help – and stop UC immediately, or at least pause and fix it!

 

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Filed under Amber Rudd MP, Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Choices, Conservatives, Corporate Tax Cuts, Degraded Public Services, Deprivation, Despair, DWP, DWP Policies, Homelessness, Housing Benefits, Human Rights, Impoverishment, Mental Health Issues, Public Purse, Sanctions, Smear Campaign, Social Security, Starvation, Suicide, Tory Cuts, Underfunding, Unemployed, Universal Credit, Welfare Cuts, Zero Hours Jobs

Disabled people’s response to PIP review: STARK TERROR . . .

Judge Death: Esther McVey’s Department for Work and Pensions will evaluate the PIP entitlement of people who have died since claiming – including some whose claims were refused altogether. Fat lot of good it’ll do them [Image: PA].

Perhaps Esther McVey thought disabled people would be grateful when she announced that every claim for Personal Independence Payment would be reviewed, because the government was under-paying people with mental health problems. If so, SHE THOUGHT WRONG.

In fact, the 1.6 million PIP recipients whose claims are to be reviewed have greeted the announcement, not with gratitude, but with terror.

Vox Political commenter ‘Florence’ explains:

 

The decision to review all cases had caused alarm among the PIP base; we see yet another opportunity to be denied benefits. The DWP are not trusted, and the decision to review all 1.6 million claims will undoubtedly have some unpleasant side effects.

While [the] opportunity to gain extra data on the appalling Human Rights situation is welcomed, the simple fact we are all being put through a desk-based review before our existing review date just fills us all with dread.

To read the full article, posted today by Mike Silvier, of VOX POLITICAL, please click on the link below:

Disabled People’s response to PPIP Review: STARK TERROR.

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budget Cuts, Changes, Choices, Chronic Ill Health, Degraded Public Services, Depression, Disability Issues, DWP Policies, Esther McVey, Fit-to-work Assessments, Funding Cuts, Human Rights, Ideology, Impoverishment, Mental Health Issues, PIP, Politics, Stark Terror!, Starvation of Resources, Suicide, Tory Cuts, UK Government, Welfare Cuts

43% of disabled claimants under Tories attempt suicide. McVey still on board of Samaritans . . .

Last month, the Independent carried the horrifying news that between 2007 and 2014, the number of disabled benefit claimants who had attempted to take their own lives had more than doubled from twenty-one percent to forty-three percent:

indie suic.png

Please click the link below to The Sqwawkbox, to read the entire article:

43% of Disabled claimants under Tories attempt suicide . . .

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Filed under Austerity, Disability Issues, DWP Policies, ESA, Esther McVey, Fit-to-work Assessments, Funding Cuts, Ian Duncan Smith, Ideology, Ill Health, Mental Health Issues, PIP, Politics, Samaritans, Social Security, Suicide, Tory Cuts, Welfare Cuts

The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again . . .

 On Wednesday 24 January an international body reported that the UK government had breached the legal human rights of sick and disabled people. This is now the fifth such report to state this in just 20 months.

The ECSR

A report [pdf “ECSR conclusions for 2017 – UK”] from the European Committee of Social Rights (part of the Council of Europe) details whether the UK government was meeting its legal obligations under the European Social Charter The UK signed up to the Charter in July 1996 [pdf, p3]. It covers fundamentalhuman rights, including those related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

The report covered [pdf, p3] the years 2012 to 2015. And overall, it found the UK government was breaching its legal obligations in two areas.

Failing on welfare

The first breach was of Article 12, the right to social security. The committee found [pdf, p19-22] that many welfare benefits – including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – were “manifestly inadequate”. That is, people were not getting enough money to live on and were being left in poverty.

The committee made a point [pdf, p19] of noting that in response to a previous report where it had raised this issue, the UK government:

contests this finding… arguing that the benefit rates are considered in isolation, without taking into account the safety net of other benefits and credits available.

But the committee once again disagreed. It said [pdf, p20] that all the benefits mentioned left people below the poverty line, even with “other benefits and credits”. Therefore, this is an automatic breach of the Charter [pdf, p20].

 

 

Please click on the link below to read the complete article, posted by The Canary:

The UK government was just found to have violated disabled people’s ‘basic’ human rights. Again. ( by Steve Topple)

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budgets, Changes, Choices, Deprivation, Disability, Disability Issues, DWP, Economy, Funding Cuts, Government Spending, Health Issues, Human Rights, Ideology, Impoverishment, Law, Liberty, Mental Health Issues, NHS, Politics, Theresa May, Tory Cuts, Tory Government, UK Government, United Kingdom, Welfare

‘Deprivation of Liberty’ deaths soar by 56% in a single year . . .

The SKWAWKBOX reported this week on the shocking tripling of deaths – from 83 in 2011 to 252 in 2016 – among people detained under the Mental Health Act, as mental health and police services have been degraded under Tory government.

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A further shocking phenomenon is revealed by the government’s Coroners’ Statistics: an increase of fifty-six percent in the number of deaths under ‘Deprivation of Liberty’ (DoL) authorisations.

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) allows for organisations – hospitals, care homes and others – to apply for authorisation to deprive or restrict a person’s liberty on the grounds of their mental capacity if it is considered necessary for their safety. ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards‘ (DoLS) exist to ensure – in theory – that a person is not unnecessarily deprived of any more of their liberty than is absolutely necessary for their safety. These only apply in England and Wales.

To read the rest of this story, please press this link:

Deprivation of Liberty deaths soar . . .

 

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Filed under Austerity, Budgets, Carers, Choices, Collapse of the NHS, Death, Degraded Public Services, Dementia, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Disability Issues, Economics, Funding Cuts, Government Spending, Health Issues, Human Rights, Ideology, Liberty, Memory Loss, Mental Health Act, Mental Health Issues, Percentages, Politics, Private Sector, Starvation of Resources, Tory Cuts, Tragedy, UK

Thoughts on a summer evening . . .

I begin to despair that any political party is interested in helping the people of this country who, through no fault of their own, are chronically ill, or disabled.

I totally support Labour’s fight against the tories, but see little in their manifesto to help people in my position – house-bound, mostly bed-bound, without social care, and with a husband who, although he is actually my full-time carer, is also having to cope with his own worsening health problems, with no respite, and only my encouragement keeping him going.

We have become a mutual support system, but our supports are getting more and more unstable, more threadbare, more tenuous, as time goes by and, frankly, the only thing keeping me going up to now, had been the hope that Labour would come into power, become our Government, and start making changes for the better for us all – but I read, recently that, even as a government, they are planning on keeping similar kinds of assessments, or checks and measures, in place to cope with the benefits system, that every other party seems to think is a good thing – measures that every ounce of me rejects with loathing!

I wrote about what happened in late December, 2016 – early January this year, when my Mum died, just as I was facing a changeover from my Indefinite DLA award, to the new PIP – which this government deliberately designed to be as hard as possible to be awarded.

I was fortunate to have passed my assessment – mostly because it’s pretty obvious to any medical professional that I’m never getting better, but also because I had a lot of help from other disabled people, who were able to advise me through this awful process – and I was awarded the new PIP for 10 years, which I’m very grateful for, believe me!

After seeing what hoops my friends are having to jump through, while fighting to retain anything, I’ll never be able to express the relief of actually passing this awful thing. But the award is really not fit for purpose, as  I’ll still have all of the same thing facing me, at a time when I’ll be even more disabled by my health problems, and whenever the government decide that they’d like to put me through it all again – you see, what the government don’t tell the public, is that they can call me back for another assessment whenever it pleases them to!

This means that, even though they have awarded me ten years of financial help, I’ll not know if, or when I’ll have to face the torture of another assessment within that time, and it’s affecting my mental health in a way I never figured it would. Even now, in July, I am still suffering the after-effects of all I was put through, and what I might have to face at any time in the future.

My physical health has worsened to the point that I haven’t even been able to do any of my beloved crochet since the assessment; I’ve been unable to do much of anything physically but, a lot worse for me, my mental health has been, and continues to be, badly affected.

During that whole process of assessment, I was made to feel bad. I was made to feel as though my life was totally and utterly unimportant – a waste of breath, a waste of time, a waste of important resources.

I was asked why I hadn’t killed myself yet and, as a typical British person, I did what we all do, and put a brave face on it, a stiff upper lip, and told the assessor that my husband and daughter are my preventitives – while tears fell down my face at the shock of her question, and at the realisation that I was actually too near to those feelings to want to examine them, let alone talk about them to a total stranger!

My answer was very true, though – but for how long, I can’t honestly say, as I try to heal myself of the wounds given to me, just because I inherited health problems that are slowly getting worse, and have no cure, and so needed financial help to live!

. . . and this has made me so angry!

It’s an anger that just keeps bubbling away inside me, and I find it hard to let go of it, especially when I see ever more draconian rights being allowed to those who govern whether any of us can have financial help, when things go bad in our lives.

I have been using the politics that I got interested in, as a way to get past the bad times in my mental health, and it has helped to a certain extent, as I can use up some of the anger that I feel, about the way we are all being treated, through this blog, and on social media

But, as the days go past, every new law, or refining of the law, seems to be aimed at making the situations of everyone in the country, who needs a helping hand, even worse and, when even nurses – those wonderfully caring men and women who have trained hard, for long years, to keep the people of this country well – have had to turn to food banks to survive, then I truly wonder what we have become as a Nation!

And now the Tories are trying to take away our Human Rights under Law, and put in it’s place a watered-down version that looks good on paper, but will be as strong as a wet tissue, if we try to use it.

I’ve read about, and watched, so many protests over the last year or so – although not on TV or in the papers, as these are all controlled by the very people who have brought in Austerity, to weaken the poor, and strengthen the Rich and powerful – and there are many more being organised for over the summer break of Parliament.

But I wonder if the powerful will sit in the sun, clinking their glasses of champagne, while laughing at us ‘plebs’ as we protest their taking away of all our rights under the law!

I have seen, over these last three to four decades, the way that Thatcher’s government broke the power of the unions – the only thing really protecting the ordinary working man and woman – and then the Neoliberal, New Labour, Blairite, government, and then the Tory government again, totally ignoring the plight of those who are having to go through these so-called health assessments, and who award the companies putting them through these useless, atrocious, offensively degrading trials, as if they were doing something wonderful for the country, instead of being the means of hurting too many thousands of vulnerable people – and to make matters even worse, these companies have cost the UK taxpayers even more to run than they will ever save, financially!

These assessments are where the ill/disabled person is lied about, treated like scum, and then ridiculed; where the painfully written, in-depth, descriptions of their daily lives are able to be read by those who shouldn’t be anywhere near them; where the ill/disabled are mocked, sneered at, laughed at, and vilified by both the – mostly – unqualified people who actually do these assessments; and then by the tory MP’s, who have been filmed doing so in Parliament, while they dismantled the laws that were supposed to defend us; or brokered the laws that will make life more unbearable for us all, and are a hell we are having to endure, in order to survive.

Those people who are too ill to fight the stopping of their only means of support – and in the last 2 years there have been at least 10,000 of them – have ended up being put into the position of either starving, or committing suicide.

Meanwhile, the companies that did this to them are awarded ever larger bonuses, and ever-longer contracts – and I wonder how much longer we will be able to survive, and what happened to the caring society that we were, when I was young, and before Thatcher came into power!

There are things happening to the disabled in this country that goes against everything I was brought up to believe in. Hard-won laws are being repealed, or flouted, and there are now working aged disabled people finding themselve immured into nursing homes, due to the cuts in their support – cuts caused by the government deliberately starving the NHS and Social Services of the money they need to go on.

It took the disabled many decades, and huge protests, to have the protections put into place by law, that meant we could live within our communities, near friends and family, and live our lives the way everyone else is able to – and now this government is slowly taking away everything that was fought so hard for – and using the same lies and excuses, that were used during the second world war, to relieve a certain nation of their disabled peoples.

The only hope I have now, is a Labour government, who will listen to it’s people, and stop this cruel torture; who will give the vulnerable of society a place where they can stand proud, and have a belief in themselves as being worthy people once again.

Is it really too much to ask for?

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Carers, Choices, Democracy, Disability, Disability Issues, DLA, Health Issues, Human Rights, Ideology, Mental Health Issues, PIP, Politics, Social Security, Welfare

The Death of Jo Cox, and the responses . . .

Like so many others, I was shocked at the sudden brutality that caused the death of Jo Cox.

I find myself unable to put into words the way I feel about it, and the way I feel that it wasn’t just Thomas Mair who shot that gun, and stabbed Jo as he did.

I don’t feel that we can just blame ‘Mental Health Problems’ for this happening either, but I couldn’t find the words to describe how I felt – until I read Kitty S. Jones’ post on her ‘Politics and Insights’ Blog.

Please follow the link below, and read her very wise words – and see how much we all, and especially this present government and their ideaologically driven rhetoric, have a part to blame in this sudden and awful result of hate and divisiveness!

Who Killed Jo Cox?

 

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Filed under Divide and Rule, Ideology, Mental Health Issues, Murder, Politics, Rhetoric