The Government has released statistics detailing how many people who need support from benefits are being sanctioned – having their financial support cut or stopped entirely because they’re not able to do the things that are being asked of them, such as attend appointments with a work coach or Jobcentre Plus advisor.
Universal Credit (UC) is gradually replacing a combination of other benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), provided to those who aren’t currently able to work due to a mental and/or physical health problems, and Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) provided to people looking for paid work.
The figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show:
- Sanctions under Universal Credit are at least nine times higher than the benefits it is replacing. In the last period for which data is available 2.8 per cent of people saw their benefits drop due to a UC sanction compared to 0.3 per cent of people on JSA and 0.1 per cent of people on ESA.
- Disabled people receiving ESA are over three times more likely than people in receipt of JSA to still be receiving benefits six months after a sanction – 85 per cent of people receiving ESA compared to 27 per cent people receiving JSA.
Full story: National Mind
A petition calling on the government to enforce guidance for eating disorder treatment has passed 60,000 signatures.
#DumpTheScales is a campaign to ensure that nobody is turned away from treatment for eating disorders purely because of their weight.
Hope Virgo, the author leading the campaign, was hospitalised for almost a year due to the severity of her anorexia nervosa and the impact it had on her mental and physical health.
However, when she started to notice the thoughts and behaviours returning, she went to seek help before things hit crisis point again. However, she was refused treatment because she wasn’t ‘thin enough’ to qualify.
Hope said: “Since being in hospital and on the brink of death from anorexia, I was terrified of ending back in acute care again when I relapsed in 2016. Things were beginning to spiral out of my control and that nagging anorexic voice in my head was becoming louder.”
“After four months of battling with that voice I decided it was time I reached out for help – to stop things before they reached crisis point. I referred myself and got an appointment at an eating disorder unit in London only to be told that I wasn’t thin enough for support.”
“Although the guidelines for eating disorder treatments are correct, they aren’t being implemented consistently across the country.”
“So far too often people are being turned away. Add to that the fact that it is far better for the individual – let alone the public purse – to intervene and offer support before somebody hits crisis point, and it seems like the obvious thing to do. Which is why I am asking government to ensure that nobody is turned away purely on the basis of their weight.”
The petition needs to reach 100,000 signatures to encourage a debate to take place in parliament.
You can support the #DumpTheScales campaign here.
Source: Mental Health Today
Rehab 4 Alcoholism is an advisory and referral service for people who suffer from alcohol addiction.
Rehab 4 Alcoholism works closely with rehabilitation centres and outpatient clinics throughout the United Kingdom and the admissions team match patients’ addiction with an appropriately placed rehabilitation centre.
Rehab 4 Alcoholism offers an industry-leading assessment with one of our experienced admissions officers conducted in complete confidence.
Helpline: 0800 111 4108
Link to website here
The Department for Transport has announced that it is extending the Blue Badge scheme so that more people with ‘invisible’ health problems, such as autism and mental health problems, can now apply.
The Blue Badge scheme offers accessible parking for people who find travel difficult, allowing them to park closer to their destination than other drivers.
Although Blue Badges have always been available to people with mental health problems, when Disability Living Allowance (DLA) moved over to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the eligibility criteria changed meaning that many people with mental health problems lost their Blue Badges.
The Government has now recognised that people with mental health problems often struggle with these issues when it comes to taking public transport, making unfamiliar journeys or walking longer distances.
Full story: National Mind
The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a damning report into Universal Credit (UC) – with a focus on how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has not done enough to protect and support “vulnerable claimants” including disabled people and people with health conditions.
The report says that because of the pressures of delivering UC, staff “lacked the time and ability to identify claimants who needed additional support’ and ‘felt overwhelmed by the volume of claimants reporting health problems’. The report also says that the DWP’s resistance to making changes ‘gives the unhelpful impression of a Department that is unsympathetic to claimants.”
The NAO has recommended that the Government does not expand the roll out of Universal Credit to existing claims (including over 1m people with mental health problems currently receiving Employment and Support Allowance) until it has fixed problems with the system.
Separate research released by the DWP last week found that one in four Universal Credit claimants reported having a health condition that significantly affected their day to day lives. It also found that:
- 50% of people with long-term health conditions receiving Universal Credit reported being in financial difficulty and struggling to keep up with bills and credit commitments.
- Health and disability was the single most common reason why people receiving Universal Credit struggled to meet work search requirements. (This applied to 48% of people who were unable to meet their requirements)
- Only 30% of people with a long-term health condition said that Universal Credit was easier to claim than other benefits.
Full story: National Mind
New research for Mind has shown soap storylines, news reports, documentaries, dramas and celebrity interviews which explore mental health, have all helped more people to feel less alone, start conversations about mental health and support each other.
Research for Mind has found that 1 in 3 people (31%) feel “less alone” following news coverage of mental health – a rise of 22% since 2016.
It follows a year of high profile media coverage including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex’ Heads Together campaign, Danny Rose becoming the first playing England footballer to speak out about depression and ITV’s Coronation Street putting a focus on suicide and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
The findings come as the Mind Media Awards 2018 open for entries. The awards celebrate the best reporting and portrayals of mental health in the media. Mind is now calling on journalists, producers and podcasters from TV, radio, print and online media to submit work, which has shone a light on mental health and challenged negative stereotypes.
The research also shows almost a third of people (28%) started a conversation about mental health following news reports and more than half (53%) said the Royal Family had got the whole nation talking about mental health.
Meanwhile, one in four people (26%) who saw a mental health storyline in a soap contacted a friend, colleague or loved one experiencing mental health problems and 16% sought help for themselves from a health professional.
The public also considered TV broadcasters (81%) or newspaper journalists (79%) as having more influence in contributing to the public’s attitudes to mental health than teachers (75%) or politicians (70%).
Full story: National Mind
The majority of people who stayed as an inpatient in hospital were happy with the care they received, had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them and had a better overall experience, according to a national survey from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
However, people with mental health problems generally report a poorer experience when they stay in hospital.
The 2017 inpatient survey asked over 70,000 adults who had stayed in hospital for at least one night during July last year said about the care they received.
The survey asked people to give their opinions on the care they received, including quality of information and communication with staff, whether they were given enough privacy, the amount of support given to help them eat and drink and help with personal hygiene, and on arrangements to discharge them from hospital.
For a second year running, responses were less positive across most areas for people with a mental health problem than those without.
Those with mental health problems said they had less confidence and trust in hospital staff, and thought they were treated with less respect and dignity and felt less informed about their care. They also gave lower than average scores in relation to whether their needs, values and preferences were fully considered, and for the quality of the coordination and integration of their care.
This repeats a trend found in the results of CQC’s 2017 surveys of children and young people and patients using A&E.
Full story: National Mind
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on the way stress impacts our lives. As part of this, Mind’s major new survey of almost 44,000 employees has found that almost half (48 per cent) had experienced poor mental health, such as stress, low mood, and anxiety, while working at their current organisation. Of those respondents, only half chose to tell their employer about their difficulties (10,554).
The data was gathered from the 74 organisations that took part in Mind’s latest Workplace Wellbeing Index, a benchmark of best policy and practice which celebrates the work employers are doing to promote and support positive mental health.
These new findings also show:
More than eight in ten people (84 per cent) would continue to go to work when experiencing poor mental health while only just over half (58 per cent) would go to work when experiencing poor physical health
Only two fifths (42 per cent) of all employees surveyed felt their manager would be able to spot the signs they were struggling with poor mental health
A fifth (21 per cent) of all respondents feel that their current workload is unmanageable
Employers taking part in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index are aiming to create a culture where staff feel able to talk openly about their mental health. Encouragingly this year two thirds (61 per cent) of employers taking part in the Index intend to increase spend on workplace wellbeing activities to create a more positive and open culture.
Full story: National Mind
“Take care of yourself”. Those words from a stranger on the tube in south west London always give me hope that not all humans are going to blatantly look me up and down, trying to work out if I’m crazy and should be avoided. The woman had glanced at the scars on my arms for a split second before finding my eyes and seeing the discomfort glaring back at her. She shared a moment of sympathy with me through a warm smile and kind words before exiting the carriage, leaving an impression that three years later I still find myself thinking about.
With British Summer Time upon us, most of us hope we’ll get to wear our best summer clothes, the ones we tuck away for the majority of the year and bring out only for a few days of mild sunshine. For some of us though, it brings anxiety. No one wants to be dripping in sweat, layered up to cover the parts of their skin they’d rather not talk about. The eyes of curious strangers, whispers and occasional outbursts of anger (yes, it happens) make our skin the elephant in the room, one we so often want to hide.
Full article: New Statesman
In 2017 our charity, Suicide Crisis, started a research project into deaths by suicide which involved attending every inquest which was a possible suicide in our county of Gloucestershire.
We also spoke to some of the families of the individuals who died.
At our Suicide Crisis Centre we are fortunate and immensely grateful that no client has died in the period that they have been under our care.
However, we were still hearing of deaths in our area, and this was distressing to us. We wanted to learn what more could be done to prevent them.
Here are some interesting findings from the first six months of our research, during which time the coroner found that twenty five individuals had died by suicide in Gloucestershire.
Full story: Mental Health Today