British Psychological Society calls for the Government to suspend its benefits sanctions system

In a joint response with other leading psychological bodies to a Government consultation the British Psychological Society has called for the suspension of the benefit sanctions system.

The Government should suspend its benefit sanctions system as it fails to get people back to work and damages their mental health, says the BPS and other leading UK psychological bodies.

The bodies highlight evidence that sanctions, or the threat of sanctions (benefit cuts following a claimant’s failure to comply with jobcentre conditions, e.g. missing an appointment with their work coach) can result in destitution, hardship, widespread anxiety and feelings of disempowerment.

The call came in a joint response to the Government’s consultation, ‘Improving Lives’, from the British Psychological Society, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, the British Psychoanalytic Council, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

Findings from the National Audit Office  show that there is limited evidence the sanctions system actually works, or is cost effective. The bodies argue that the Government needs to change focus from trying to make unemployment less attractive, to trying to make employment more attractive.

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Unexpected mental health deaths up 50% in three years

The number of unexpected patient deaths reported by England’s mental health trusts has risen by almost 50% in three years, figures suggest.

The findings, for the BBC’s Panorama programme, are based on FOI results from half of mental health trusts.

Unexpected deaths include death by suicide, neglect and misadventure.

The Department of Health said the increase was “expected” because of changes to the way deaths were recorded and investigated.

Raising the issue at Commons’ health questions on Tuesday, former shadow health minister Luciana Berger said she was “ashamed to live in a country” where the number of unexpected deaths among mental health patients had risen in recent years.

She said: “That is not a reflection of a country that cares equally about mental health as it does about physical health.”

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there was “a huge to do to improve mental health care”, but said more money had been made available, and more patients were being seen. “I think we are one of the best in the world,” he said.

Unexpected deaths

Thirty-three mental health trusts – which provide most mental health care – out of a total of 57 in England responded to the Panorama Freedom of Information request.

In 2012-13, the trusts reported a total of 2,067 unexpected deaths.

By 2015-16 that had risen to 3,160.

The increase comes at a time of decreased funding for mental health trusts, which provide the bulk of mental health care in England.

Exclusive new analysis for Panorama from the think tank, the Health Foundation, indicates that mental health trusts in England have had their funding cut by £150m over the past four years, compared with a rise in national spending on health of £8bn.

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Thousands with progressive and mental illnesses lose their disability benefits in cruel Tory cut

Charities sounded the alarm over a “devastating” shake-up which has axed or reduced 230,000 people’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

The fund is designed to help disabled people live independently and is replacing the old Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Yet around 110,000 DLA claimants who were reassessed for the new benefit – 21% of the total – have been rejected since PIP launched in 2013. Another 121,000 – 23% of those reassessed – were given PIP but at a lower rate than their previous benefit. Overall, 40% saw their payments rise and 12% saw no change.

The figures, covering April 2013 to October 2016 and compiled by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), were slipped out without fanfare on the government’s website today.

Those who lost out include many with progressive diseases – around 450 Parkinson’s sufferers, 3,069 people with multiple sclerosis and 4,450 suffering unspecified ‘malignant diseases’. Others with progressive conditions who saw benefits axed or reduced were around 294 cystic fibrosis sufferers, 36 people with motor neurone disease and 1,617 people classed as “terminally ill”.

Mental health charity Mind warned 74,580 DLA claimants with four key psychiatric disorders lost some or all of their benefits – 55% of all those who were reassessed.

Policy manager Vicki Nash said the figures were a “a huge cause for concern”, adding: “Hundreds of thousands of people with mental health problems rely on DLA and PIP to help them get the support they need to stay well.

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Insanity of UK’s invisible killers: Charity claim number of attacks by people with mental health problems is being seriously underplayed with a third of all incidents not included in ‘official’ reports : Daily Mail. — DWPExamination.

Researchers accused of playing down killings for fear of stigmatising mentally ill Government-commissioned annual report fails to include dozens of victims Perpetrators not seen by mental health specialists in year leading up to killings Killings of Tommy Sheldon, 5, and Dr Jeroen Ensink not included in the report The number of killings by people with […]

via Insanity of UK’s invisible killers: Charity claim number of attacks by people with mental health problems is being seriously underplayed with a third of all incidents not included in ‘official’ reports : Daily Mail. — DWPExamination.

Police threaten legal action over lack of mental health beds

A chief constable has vowed to stop “unlawfully” holding people with a mental illness in police cells because the NHS has no beds for them.

Shaun Sawyer, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, wrote to Devon Partnership NHS Trust to say it would be held to account in future.

The letter, leaked to the Express and Echo, says legal action may be taken if the situation is not resolved.

The trust said it was disappointed, but accepted more needed to be done.

Mr Sawyer said while it was “unedifying” to sue a public body, he would do so if necessary.

“It’s contingent and hopefully something that would never occur because it’s public money,” he told BBC News.

Mr Sawyer said the number of “136 detentions” – where police can remove someone they believe to be mentally ill to a place of safety – has reduced, but the current situation was unacceptable.

He claims beds are “not being made available effectively, speedily or efficiently in enough cases”.

“If somebody comes to harm, technically I’m holding them in those cells unlawfully.”

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Act on children’s mental ill health or risk national crisis, warns expert : Guardian. — DWPExamination.

Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition urges baby boomers to address needs of younger generation. The government is allocating an extra £25m to accelerate plans for improving mental health services for children and young people Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo The UK should brace itself for a “tsunami” of adults with mental health problems unless […]

via Act on children’s mental ill health or risk national crisis, warns expert : Guardian. — DWPExamination.

Government To Slash Mental Health Funding Again, Figures Show

A “dangerous situation” is developing, says Labour MP

Mental health funding will be cut in many areas of Britain in the next year, and the postcode lottery will worsen, new figures show.

At least 73 local areas will see their GP mental health budgets slashed in 2016/2017, according to government data obtained by Labour MP Luciana Berger.

The gap between the smallest and largest spends will also widen: Haringey’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will put 16 percent of its budget on mental health, for West Hampshire that figure will be 5 percent.

This will be the third year the government has failed to meet its target of increased mental health spending. Berger, who heads Labour’s mental health campaign, called the development “dangerous”.

“The government must urgently step in and prevent a dangerous situation developing”, she said.

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