Mental Health, The News & Policies.

*Important Read* from @latentexistence – PIP consultation final judgement in full #disability #mentalhealth

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‘Mr Justice Hickinbottom:


  1. A disabled person who satisfies various statutory criteria is entitled to Disability Living Allowance (“DLA”), a single welfare benefit with two components – the care component and the mobility component. The care component is designed to help with the additional costs of daily living activities, such as personal care, shopping and preparing meals. The mobility component helps with additional costs of getting around. Different rates are payable depending on the severity of the impact of the person’s disability. For the care component, there are three rates. For the mobility component, there are two: the higher rate (currently £56.75 per week) and the lower rate (£21.55 per week). The higher rate is awarded to claimants who are “virtually unable to walk”; and, although there are various criteria by which this is measured, generally a claimant will satisfy that test if he is unable to walk more than 50m, unaided or using only manual aids or appliances. The higher rate mobility component is sufficient to lease a Motability vehicle.’………(keep reading…)

THIS is My Victory!

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Originally posted on Phoenix - The Rebirth of My Life:

July 18th, 2014  10:13 AM

The clock strikes 12
The battle and I have become 1
It stabs me right in the heart;
To watch the  ruby-red blood pour profusely
Through my chest cavity
To wash away the 2 things
That are darted towards my feeble face:
Hatred and Stigma.
I walk towards the battle
Stronger and wiser than ever before
To look into its paltry eyes.
Our eyes meet at 3
To see 4 things
Standing right in front of me:
Emptiness, Hopelessness, Loneliness, and Worthlessness.
The battle whispers 5 hysterical words to me:
“Your time is now up”.
I stand taller and wiser
And smile through my pearly white teeth and rebel
To bellow these 6 wondrous words:
“This is my life, my victory!”
I stand above the battle
7 feet taller than its men
To walk 8 steps closer to the source.
I am surrounded by 9

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Cameron’s Gini and the hidden hierarchy of worth

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Originally posted on Politics and Insights - kittysjones :


On 04 June, 2014, at 3.52pm BST, Cameron said inequality is at its lowest level since 1986. I really thought I’d misheard him. Cameron lies, that’s established fact. But mendacity of such epic proportions is surely a clear indication that this really is the Coalition’s last stand.

This isn’t the first time Cameron has used this lie. We have a government that provides disproportionate and growing returns to the already wealthy, whilst imposing austerity cuts on the very poorest. How can such a government possibly claim that inequality is falling, when inequality is so fundamental to their ideology and when social inequalities are extended and perpetuated by all of their policies? It seems the standard measure of inequality is being used to mislead us into thinking that the economy is far more “inclusive’ than it is.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income…

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Hundreds Of Disabled People Sent On Workfare Every Week, Is Unpaid Work The New Segregation?

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Originally posted on the void:

Disabled activists protesting in 2007 against Tesco, an early pioneer of unpaid work. Pic from here

The new Minister for Murdering Disabled People, Nick Harper has teamed up with David Cameron this week to boast about huge numbers of disabled people being sent to work without pay, often for profit making companies.  The gushing press release forms part of the DWP’s cringe-making Disability Confident campaign, the latest gimmick to cover up the endless vicious attacks on disabled people by the department.

According to the figures around 45,000 people registered as disabled with Jobcentres have been referred to an unpaid work placement since 2011.  Of those 29,000 were sent on the Work Experience programme and 16,000 on Sector Based Work Academies, which the DWP now appear to be claiming leads to a guaranteed real job.  This is a lie, Sector Based Work Academies promise a job interview only as

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Advice for 14-year-old me, living with depression

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Originally posted on What Rhymes With Sarah?:

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

Living with depression is awful for anyone but when it starts at a young age, you can start feeling like there’s no escape. You feel like you’re not actually unwell, you’re just intrinsically a miserable person (which oddly enough does not actually help you to feel better). In the spirit of breaking the cycle, here are some things I wish someone could have told me when I was a teenager. Maybe there’s still time for them to help someone else.

There are people who would be mortified at the thought of accepting how they are…

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Why the Tories should know privatising Job Centres won’t work

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Originally posted on Vox Political:

Parked on the dole: Closing Job Centres and handing responsibility for finding work to private companies would condemn thousands - if not hundreds of thousands - of people to a life on benefits (if they don't get sanctioned and starve).
Parked on the dole: Closing Job Centres and handing responsibility for finding work to private companies would condemn thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of people to a life on benefits (if they don’t get sanctioned and starve).

It’s incredible that allies of George Osborne are backing proposals to shut down all Job Centres and let private companies fill the void.

The proposal to let the private sector find work for Britain’s unemployed is actually being considered for inclusion in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto for 2015, according to the Huffington Post.

It quotes a ‘senior Tory’ who told The Sun: “Introducing competition into the job search market is a natural Conservative thing to do.”

This means Conservatives are naturally unimaginative, if not altogether stupid.

Have they already forgotten the lessons learnt from the way work programme provider companies treated jobseekers that were sent their way…

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An Optimum Diet for Mood Stability and Long-Term Good Health   #notjustbipolar

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Excellent article! I for one would like to see more of these evidence based studies presented to a Government who feel medication is the only way to treat mental ill health.

Originally posted on Rethinking Bipolar:

Real Food: The Best Diet - Andrew Weil, M.D. explains what to eat and drink more and less of:

(This talk is largely about USA diet. USA has the highest incidence of bipolar and many other modern disorders. Elsewhere in the world we need to learn from America’s mistakes.)

Can there really be an optimum diet?

It perhaps depends on what we mean by optimum (or maybe it is optimal?). If optimum diet means the best diet we can work out for ourselves, and a diet we can stick with, to keep us healthy then, yes, it just takes a while to figure out what is good for us.

Why did I start searching for my optimum diet?

Stress caused indigestion, such that I could not sleep and this led to a psychiatric admission where I was heavily sedated, and started to rapidly gain weight. I reacted badly…

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An exercise in hope: The Biscuit Fund steps to help Kevin after his benefits are sanctioned

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Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

Kevin Jobbins, who's living on £7 a fortnight for food, following a benefit sanction
Kevin, who’s living on £7 a fortnight for food, is offered help from charity the Biscuit Fund

Something marvellous has happened! Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while will know that the accounts people share of their lives – at the Greenwich food bank (part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks) and elsewhere – are often very grim. So I don’t get to use the word marvellous very often. There you go, I sneaked the word in again.

This week was different. There was some brilliant news for one of the food bank’s clients. A small charity called the Biscuit Fund was alerted via Twitter to my recent interview with Kevin .  It has now come forward  to offer Kevin some very well targeted and timely help.

He was left trying to exist on a food budget of £3.50 a week after he…

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Last psych appt

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Originally posted on Behind the Façade:

Yesterday afternoon I was seen by the doctors, and my community nurse/case manager also sat in on the meeting. I was asked whether I wanted to be discharged that day or the next, I chose to be discharged that afternoon. Though I still wasn’t great, I at least felt a little better than when I came in and I guess there wasn’t much point in staying any longer. We also discussed my medication, I still remain on 200mg of Pristiq and 50mg of Seroquel XR but have also commenced on 450mg of lithium as a mood stabiliser. It was either lithium or sodium valproate, but according to the doctor the latter has a greater chance of hair loss, weight gain and sedation occurring as side effects.

Spent this morning in tears as I emailed a uni lecturer about something totally unrelated, and in her reply she again brought up an…

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This government has been a disaster for disabled people – by Kate Green

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Originally posted on Politics and Insights - kittysjones :

By Kate Green, shadow minister for disabled people, first
This weekend, members of my party will be meeting to shape the policy programme that Labour will take into government.
At the heart of those discussions will be a determination to deliver the vision of One Nation Britain that Ed Miliband has committed us to. Nowhere will that commitment matter more than in relation to our policies for the equality, inclusion and participation of disabled people.

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Blog For Mental Health 2014

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Originally posted on Phoenix - The Rebirth of My Life:

July 14th, 2014 10:55 AM

A Canvas of the Minds : A unique collaboration of different perspectives on mental health and life promotes the discussion behind mental health and raising mental illness awareness. Two things I currently support and promote through my blog.

Today, Monday, July 14th, 2014, I decided to join the +100 bloggers who blog for mental health!

Art by Pip Macenzie
Art by Pip Macenzie

I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 13. During this time I used to self harm, cut, and starve myself to be thin which led to anorexia nervosa. At the age of 14 I became familiar with the idea of ‘suicide’ from a movie and ever since then I’ve always enjoyed researching and reading stories about suicide. Eventually I started to become obsessed with suicide and made my first attempt at the age of 15 and experienced my first hospitalization in 2008. I refused…

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9 disturbing things you should know about Cameron’s reshuffle

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Originally posted on glynismillward189:

Reposted from Labour List



1. The Minister for Equalities but not equal marriage

Nicky Morgan has replaced Gove at Education, while keeping the Minister for Women brief she has had since Maria Miller’s resignation. This morning, Cameron also announced  she was being given the Equalities brief, except… she voted against equal marriage. To get around the problem of having your Minister for Equalities opposing your flagship equalities policy, they have given Nick Boles, the new Minister of State for Business and Education, the job of dealing with same-sex marriage.

2. EU Commissioner doesn’t want to be EU Commissioner

Lord Hill has become the new EU Commissioner, but in an interview with Conservative Home last yearhe was asked whether he would want the job – and he replied: “Non, non, non.” LabourList would like to extend our congratulations to him on the role.

It’s not the first time he’s been stuck…

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Open letter from UK legal academic experts re DRIP

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Originally posted on Paul Bernal's Blog:

I’m one of the signatories to the letter below – not just a few, but many very serious legal academics, some of the most distinguished in the field.

Tuesday 15th July 2014

To all Members of Parliament,

Re: An open letter from UK internet law academic experts

On Thursday 10 July the Coalition Government (with support from the Opposition) published draft emergency legislation, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill (“DRIP”). The Bill was posited as doing no more than extending the data retention powers already in force under the EU Data Retention Directive, which was recently ruled incompatible with European human rights law by the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the joined cases brought by Digital Rights Ireland (C-293/12) and Seitlinger and Others (C-594/12) handed down on 8 April 2014.

In introducing the Bill to Parliament, the Home Secretary framed…

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Conservatives set to launch ‘incoherent’ attack on human rights

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Originally posted on Vox Political:

Sacked: Dominic Grieve's reservations about Legal Aid cuts put him at adds with the Coalition government; it seems his concern over a planned attack on human rights led to his sacking.
Sacked: Dominic Grieve’s reservations about Legal Aid cuts put him at adds with the Coalition government; it seems his concern over a planned attack on human rights led to his sacking.

Now we know why former Attorney General Dominic Grieve got the sack – he is said to have opposed a forthcoming Conservative attack on the European Court of Human Rights, which he described as “incoherent”.

Coming in the wake of his much-voiced distaste for Chris Grayling’s cuts to Legal Aid, it seems this was the last straw for David Cameron, the Conservative Prime Minister who seems determined to destroy anything useful his party ever did.

The European Court of Human Rights was one such thing; Winston Churchill helped set it up after World War II and its founding principles were devised with a large amount of input from the British government. It is not part of the European Union…

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Assisted Dying: Whose Soul?

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Compelling argument

Originally posted on juxtaposed:

I’m all for a law which permits an assisted death. I’m also for ‘living wills’ to be legally respected. I’m for these on the principle of Free Will which, at the most basic level of physical existence, means the right to do with my body as I see fit, for me. If I make a ‘mistake’ then that is my consequence. Yes, probably we could get into an elongated set of what-if overrides – throwing your body in front of a train, for example: that obviously inflicts consequences on others, as does sprinting naked at your child’s school sports day. I’ve done neither of those, by the way. But, for the purposes of assisted dying – as with abortion – I think only those personally and directly affected have any right to try to effect a different choice. By persuasion, that is, not coercion.

I’d read and heard a variety…

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In hospital

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Such a brutally open account…thank you for sharing and wish you well in your recovery

Originally posted on Behind the Façade:

I’m in hospital at the moment and feeling such a mix of emotions. There’s a part of me that wants help but doesn’t know how to ask for it, there’s a part of me that just wants to go home and is hoping I’ll be okay, there’s a part of me that’s still considering an overdose and there’s a part of me that just doesn’t know any more.

I’d been struggling lately and thinking of taking an overdose but was waiting until at least after Thursday as I was speaking at a conference and didn’t want to back out on that commitment. Thursday night I felt kinda like “What now,” and called up mental health triage to speak to someone about those thoughts. Luckily the nurse who picked up was a nurse I already knew and who knew me, and is one of the best nurses that I’ve met. It…

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Exeter tenants evicted from flats with ‘no warning’

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Originally posted on Benefit tales:

More than 40 people including children have been evicted from a block of flats in a raid by bailiffs.

It follows the repossession of part of the property in Bartholomew Street, Exeter, from Property Edge Lettings which went into administration in 2012.

Families, most of them Polish, say they were given no warning of the eviction and just 20 minutes to leave. Receivers Alder King, who sent in enforcement officers to repossess the property, declined to comment.

One of the residents, Izabela, said: “We have just been told get out and we don’t know where we are going.”

Rob Hannaford, Exeter’s lead councillor for housing, said he was “very concerned” for the tenants, with whom the council was working with to provide alternative accommodation. He said the council had been made aware of the situation several weeks ago and had offered advice on alternatives, as well as giving residents information…

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Compulsory treatment and benefit sanctions: stoking fear and prejudice for political ends

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Originally posted on Sectioned:

Benefits Street

Benefits Street arrived on the iPads of Telegraph readers on Saturday night. A story about scroungers refusing help to get back on their feet and the Conservative party’s proposed “tough love” solution provoked strong reactions. And that’s no surprise.

People with mental health problems who are unable to work and dependent on state support were led to believe that payments would be docked if they refused treatment. This would effectively make state-sanctioned treatment compulsory on pain of losing your only source of income. Telegraph readers were fed the line that people with common mental health problems were willfully refusing to engage with treatments almost guaranteed to succeed just so that they could lounge about at taxpayers’ expense; but reassured that the Tories had proposed a simple and cost-effective solution (sanctions and compulsory treatment) to get people back to work.

Although at first glance the story might follow a coherent line…

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Jobcentre Manager: “There Are Now Targets For Bullying Claimants Off ESA”

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Originally posted on glynismillward189:

Reposted from Same Difference

Many thanks to Benefits And Work for their very useful summary of a very important article.

Earlier this month Benefits and Work reported that there had been a massive and unexplained rise in the number of ESA sanctions, with the total quadrupling in the course of a year.  The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, however, has interviewed an anonymous jobcentre manager who claims that they now have targets for bullying claimants off ESA.

Polly met the jobcentre manager, in secret, who told her how the sick are treated and what harsh targets she is under to push them off benefits.

“I just met a jobcentre manager. It had to be in secret, in a Midlands hotel, several train stops away from where she works. She told me how the sick are treated and what harsh targets she is under to push them off benefits. A high proportion…

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The Government should conduct an investigation into the Sanction Culture at Job Centre Plus

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Originally posted on Dame Anne Begg MP:

This afternoon, Dame Anne Begg MP for Aberdeen South and Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee will lead a debate in Westminster Hall around the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s report into the role of Job Centre Plus in the reformed welfare state.

The debate is particularly topical with recent controversies surrounding the use of sanctions and increasing reliance on Food Banks and some of the problems of Universal Jobsmatch.

Dame Anne will criticise the Government for refusing to conduct an investigation into the ‘Sanctions culture’ at Job Centre plus as well as for refusing to assess if there has been any links between sanctions and food bank use.

She will also be asking the Government to develop a more accurate measure of the success of Job Centre Plus in getting people into Work rather than just an “Off Benefit” measure as there are multiple reasons why people…

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Kevin sanctioned on Work Programme and now begging for food

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Originally posted on Ann McGauran:

Kevin Jobbins, who's living on £7 a fortnight for food, following a benefit sanction
Kevin Jobbins, who’s living on £7 a fortnight for food, following a benefit sanction

How does it feel to be “living” on a budget for food of £3.50 a week? Kevin Jobbins is doing exactly that, but the more you think about it, the less appropriate the concept of  existence or survival seems in this context. To survive  conjures up images of Everest expeditions  – involving a set of risks voluntarily  endured  by explorers who’ve personally opted to challenge their own physical and emotional limitations.

Kevin, on the other hand, came into the Greenwich Foodbank   because  he’s  not  surviving. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to reinstate his benefits following a sanction in April. Kevin is 39, and is  receiving employment and support allowance (ESA). He’s waiting to go into detox treatment for drug and alcohol issues and is also on the waiting list for surgery…

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