Aside Posted on Updated on
Last year the first #Twentalhealthawards were held on the World of Mentalists blog, recognising the best in mental health tweeting. It’s now returning for a second time, and you lot get to decide the winners.
Meanwhile, the judges for the This Week in Mentalists Awards 2013 have been voting on the shortlist of mental health blogs and vlogs, and the results will be announced publicly on 21st December. Meanwhile, you can still nominate up to that date in the Best New Blog/Vlog and Most Sadly Missed Blog/Vlog categories by clicking here and leaving a comment.
For the #Twentalhealthawards, the categories are:
Professional Not Otherwise Specified (basically a professional involved in mental health who isn’t a psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, social worker or OT)
1. Submit your nominations by leaving them in a comment to the blog post announcing nominations (ie. this). Each individual can nominate as many Twitter accounts as they like, in as many categories as they like. However, they must submit at least two tweeters overall for nomination.
2. For impartiality reasons, my own Twitter feed @thus_spake_z, and that of this blog @quinonostante and my other blog @NotSoBigSociety, are not eligible for these awards.
3. NO SPAMMING/MANIPULATING THE NOMINATIONS! Suspicious nomination patterns may result in a tweeter being disqualified from the awards. In the event of any suspicious nomination patterns, the decision of the adjudicators (Phil and Dawn) will be final.
4. The tweeters with the most nominations in each category will be declared the winner. Up to two runner-up prizes in each category will also be awarded. To be eligible for a runner-up prize, a Twitter feed must have received at least three nominations.
5. Only public Twitter accounts are eligible for the awards.
6. You cannot nominate your own Twitter feed.
7. You can nominate a feed in more than one category (e.g. if you think a tweeter is both “subversive” and “helpful” you can nominate them in both). This would only not be the case if a feed bears no relation to the category title (e.g. nominating a tweeter for “nursing” if their content was nothing to do with nursing). In the event of any confusion on this, the adjudicators will make a final decision.
8. Winners will be announced on Sunday 2nd January 2014.
After a month of nominations from the public, we now have a shortlist for the This Week in Mentalists Awards 2013. This is the fourth year of the awards, showcasing the best in mental health blogging (and also for the first time this year, vlogging).
Sifting through the nominations to come up with a shortlist turned out to be a tricky one, not least because a lot of people nominated without stating a category, or stated a category when a blog seemed more to belong in a rather different once. Hence I’ve had to do a certain amount of juggling between the categories.
The more eagle-eyed readers may notice that one category has disappeared altogether. The “therapy” category simply didn’t attract a sufficient number of relevant blogs, so that category has been scrapped.
Compared to previous years I’ve had to cast a fairly high number of deciding votes this year. In the past clear trends would emerge over the course of the nominations, whereas this year there’s been a wider range of blogs being suggested. I suspect this is simply because mental health blogging is a much more widespread activity than when the awards first started running. It’s no longer the niche activity it used to be not so long ago.
Regretfully, some nominations looked suspiciously like spam, and for that reason had to be viewed as unreliable and therefore weren’t counted.
The categories of Best New Blog and Sadly Missed are a straight public vote rather than going through to the judges, so you can continue to nominate blogs and vlogs for those.
Meanwhile, the shortlist will go to the judging panel. They will pick a winner in each category, as well as a wildcard winner out of the remaining shortlisters. The results will be announced on Saturday 21st December.
Without further ado, here is the shortlist.
By now you'll have all read many accounts of how IDS performed at the Work & Pensions Select on Monday; how 'he got way with it', his choice use of language, his need for bodyguards etc.
It's taken me until today to write my account, this is due in part to initial feelings of fury and outrage at his behaviour and the seeming inability of the Select members to nail him down; also the trip itself - a 220 mile round day trip to London with complimentary train tickets courtesy of The Mirror, which in regular circumstances is relatively easy and enjoyable, has left me feeling as if I've physically and mentally wrestled with dinosaurs!
‘The devastating impact of “fit for work” tests – and the cynical politics at their heart.’ #disability #wca #WOWpetition
“Two revealing new reports draw attention to the ongoing impact of “fit for work” assessments, giving more evidence of the misery and hardship experienced by some sick and disabled people and providing further clues as to the underlying cause.
Despite minor improvements in the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), politicians, doctors, other medical professionals, church leaders, journalists, disabled people and thousands of others continue to express serious disquiet over its impact on sick and disabled people. The assessment is used to determine eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which provides support for people who are unable to work for health reasons, but there remains little confidence in its operation.
The People’s Review of the WCA – Further Evidence has been written by an anonymous author determined, despite seriously failing health, to do everything she possibly can to raise awareness of the impact of the WCA on the lives of sick and disabled people. Like the first People’s Review, published a year ago, this new report simply aims to give a voice to those whose lives have been devastated by the impact of the assessment on their physical and mental health and financial security. It shows how the WCA very often fails in its purpose – to identify those who need secure financial support because they are unable to work due to an impairment or serious health condition.
On 2 December the Centre for Welfare Reform published a report by Kaliya Franklin: “Investigating the real reason for the misery of ‘fit for work’ assessments”. Kaliya’s report includes whistle-blower evidence and analysis showing that – despite consistent denials by ministers – outcomes for sick and disabled ESA claimants are governed, to some extent at least, by a system of “norms”. In practice these norms behave as quotas, ensuring that no more than a certain percentage of claimants are eligible for ESA. This cynical approach to assessing claimants for sickness benefits has its roots in Lord Freud’s report “Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work”, published in 2007, and provides a distressing explanation for the experiences described in the second People’s Review.
It seems clear that without de facto quotas, explained in Kaliya’s report, it is much less likely that the process of being assessed for support would inflict so much suffering on so many people. Taken together, the reports add more detail to an emerging picture of the political manipulation at the heart of an assessment process that continues to cause sick and disabled people immense hardship and suffering a full 5 years after its introduction.
Press contact: Jane Young, 0777 5892344″
How fortunate I am, I have two sons. Actually this year I count myself as especially fortunate because one almost died. My sons are quite nice, Matt is 26 and Kriss is 24. Both are lucky enough to have secured work in the current economic climate, which should be a relief to me as their Mum, but alas this is not always how it plays out.
This is the true story of a year in the life of my two sons.
It’s great when you can find a job that you like, and which pays you a reasonable wage. Matt has a great job, he’s not a uni grad or powerful business man, he works outside in a leisure park, it’s what he loves and he counts himself fortunate to have a job he enjoys. He walks away with a pay packet netting him around £280 a week after deductions and pays £65 a week for his room in a shared house with his brother and mates. It’s a fun bachelor life and Matt is satisfied with his lot. That is until he gets a pesky ‘brain tumour’ in July and almost dies, and suddenly discovers, as many workers do, that there’s no company sick scheme and his wages drop to around £85 a week which is Statutory Sick Pay. He applies for Housing Benefit. They pay him £45 a week. He can’t pay his mobile contract, his phone gets disconnected, he can’t pay his credit card, he has debt collectors hounding him. He can’t afford to keep living with his brother and mates, because he can’t cope with the laddish lifestyle following the brain surgery, he can’t afford to heat his room and he feels the cold much more. He can’t really afford to move either he has no savings left, they went on settling bills and paying rent whilst council dilly dallied over housing benefit claims. Last week he got a toothache, bad toothache, but the NHS dentist couldn’t treat him as he’s not on benefits! He has to fill out a 15 page form before he can get treatment. He thinks “Flipping heck I nearly died, but now I can’t afford to live.” (He is still working on his recovery and not well enough to work).
Kriss made a choice. Almost two years ago he decided he would like to become a Firefighter. He’d had various unskilled jobs yet had always hankered over a career in the Fire Service. He applied to become a Retained Firefighter, it was a tough selection process, but he made it and underwent some of the most impressive training, and last December became the newest recruit in a fully retained service. Retained Firefighters traditionally were people who volunteered at local stations as their 2nd job, and they worked alongside full time fire crews. Alas Government cuts have meant that more and more stations are completely reliant on Retained Firefighters. Kirss would like to become a full time Firefighter, but recognises that this will take time, he needs continued training and experience, and is prepared to keep at it, and learn from the more experienced people on his crew. `As his Mum I’m proud, who doesn’t love a Firefighter? Well clearly our Government have little respect for them, and it’s quite sickening to see my son paid £290 after taxes and have to pay £280 for his rent. Clearly we can’t blame the Government because there were less fire and rescue situations that particular month meaning Kriss only has £2.50 a wk to eat, clothe and warm himself, however we can look at a system which says he is not entitled to claim any other financial support. He can’t claim ‘working’ tax credits because he’s under 25. He can’t claim JobSeekers – he has a job. He can’t get Housing Benefit, he’s earned too much, say the Council. He’s tried for plenty second jobs, and as much as the country loves a Firefighter, they really don’t want to be worrying that he pay have to drop a shift to er..y’know…save a life or something…
We hear from this Government how much it invests in young people and I watch a twitter feed which agrees with Osborne and his cronies when they say they are investing in youth. It’s utter twaddle. They have condemned them, and left them hopeless and in many cases homeless with their draconian policies.
My boys are far from perfect, but I’ve watched them grow up, with dreams and aspirations and try hard to find their place in society. I wonder how we can sit back as a country and allow them to become so disillusioned.
My daughter is off to University in 2014 to study medicine, to become a Doctor. It’s bloody amazing that she feels an urge to complete a degree, end up with over £40,000 of student debt even before she’s earned a penny in practice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant career choice, just a shame she had the misfortune to be born when she was. Only a couple of years earlier she’d have been respected for choosing to study and serve, not screwed over with enormous debt.
Why am I ranting today? Just because….because it’s sickens me to see how much this county is prepared to blame young people for their situations, when the majority are actually probably just like my kids, doing their best in a county which places no value upon them.
(not satire - it's Gideon!)
Here's George Osborne's Autumn Statement in a nutshell so you don't have to read all the boring, predictable details:
- All you old, poor and disabled people are still costing us far too much, so we're just going to have to punish you even more now.
- Don't blame me, it's Gordon Brown's fault for causing the global economic recession.