More people come forward in the DWP ‘Kill Yourself’ scandal

On 28 February, The Canary reported the case of a woman who claimed an assessor working on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) asked her why she hadn’t killed herself yet.

Since we published that report, several people have approached us claiming the same thing happened to them. In this follow-up, we are publishing several of their testimonies. We have also spoken to Atos, the company which carries out assessments for the DWP. And in a separate report, we have discussed these claims with the President of the British Psychological Society, Peter Kinderman.

Testimonies

Several people contacted us with similar stories to Alice Kirby’s. Most have asked that we do not mention them by name. The majority of them said they feared it could affect their claims.

Alison:

I was asked by a woman at the Atos PIP interview: ‘Why haven’t you killed yourself yet?’ I remember it very clearly. I left the room in tears and had my PIP cut. I was too afraid to complain in case they took all the money off me.

read more here: https://www.thecanary.co/2017/03/07/more-people-come-forward-in-the-dwp-kill-yourself-scandal/

 

Charities warn high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs having ‘terrible impact’ on their wellbeing

Young women ‘significantly more likely’ to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than young men

Young women are “significantly more likely” to report they are suffering from anxiety or depression than their male counterparts, statistics have revealed, raising concerns that a high number of young women working in low-paid and insecure jobs is leading to a severe decline in mental health.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed worrying levels of mental illness in all young people, with one in five men and women aged 16-24 showing symptoms of anxiety and depression, an increase from 18 per cent in the period 2009 to 2010 to 21 per cent in 2013 to 2014.

Women stood out as being particularly affected, with the proportion of young women reporting anxiety and depression having climbed by four per cent within four years from 22 per cent in 2009 to 2010 to 26 per cent in 2013 to 2014. According to the latest statistics, one in four (25 per cent) young women reported such issues, compared with 15 per cent of young men.

read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/young-women-anxious-depression-mental-health-ons-young-womens-trust-a7683861.html

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.

read more here: http://beta.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-calls-government-suspend-its-benefits-sanctions-system

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.

Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38852420?S

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.

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-progressive-mental-illnesses-lose-9458222

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.