350 Psychologists to Monitor and Give Therapy to Claimants in Job Centres.
Mental health services in exchange for job seeking.
IAPT ( Improving Access to Psychological Therapies ) workers in 350 Jobcentres.
The medical journal Pulse reported this in March.
Chancellor George Osborne has promised to co-locate Improving Access to Psychological Therapies therapists in 350 job centres as part of his final Budget before the election.
The therapists will be put in place from summer 2015 to provide ‘employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions’, the Budget documents stated.
(10 April 2015)
Starting from early 2016, the government will provide online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to 40,000 Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants and individuals being supported by Fit for Work. From summer 2015, the government will also begin to co-locate Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) therapists in over 350 Jobcentres, to provide integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions.
From What do they Know.
There has been serious discussion of this move on this forum:
– Mental health problems and poverty are linked and can be targeted together: Lambeth is one of the poorest boroughs and has one of the highest incidence of mental health issues. Reaching out to and supporting people with mental health problems will help them back into work and this will improve recovery rates.
– Any spending on mental health is positive: When reorganised in 2010, Mental Health Services in Lambeth had an immediate 50% funding cut with an extra 5% cut each year for the next 5 years with the emphasis on spending on IAPT. SLaM pre-2012 had 4 floors of a wing in St Thomas’ Hospital an by mid-2012 it was half the basement of the same wing. Any spending on mental health in the borough is welcome.
– Job centres often now have many security staff. People with mental health problems may be put off from engaging and/or claiming benefits by the atmosphere generated by this.
“To anyone more paranoid than me going for CBT or any other treatment in Brixton Job Centre would be not much different from going to Brixton Police Station.”
– This has been instated without community consultation which often has applied to issues surrounding planning, regeneration, libraries, local environmental improvements.
“Why can’t we be consulted about our views on mental health services?”
– There is a potential conflict of interest for DWP to fund CBT practitioners in job centres: it will impact on confidentality with information likely to be shared with other government departments that may not have clients best interests at heart.
– A pre-requisite for psychotherapy and building a therapeutic alliance is that clients feel they than talk openly in an environment that is not judgemental or based on a goal set from outside (aligned with interests of DWP).
“I would not want to go to the job centre. The staff at the job centres treat you like you have done something wrong, they are useless when it comes to helping you find work and are just there to process you through their systems. Crossing mental health services with the job centre seems to be more about getting more people back to work than helping the recovery of those with mental health issues.”
– CBT is a form of therapy which locates problems in the individual rather than systemically. In a context of Austerity measures and zero-hour job contracts, does this lead to a re-framing of ideas around the self and responsibility around stoically (passively?) responding to what may be very unjust social and working practices?
“Do politicians really care about mental health anyway?
CBT is ideal therapy from a politicians point of view:
1. It can easily be time limited (12 weekly sessions or some such)
2. It is measurable – as the treatment involves repeated filling in of a Beck Inventory or variant.
3. It is in effect a form of brain-washing designed to change a negative attitude into a positive one.
Obvious fit for a Job Centre I would have thought.”
– Is CBT in job centres going to be offered solely to people on benefits or will it also be provided to people not claiming benefits? Ian Duncan Smith has talked a lot about helping to get people off benefit by cutting it off. It is unknown whether CBT will therefore be an exercise in acting coercively towards people identified with having mental health problems but unwilling to engage in CBT (e.g. avoiding completing homework). Also, it is unsure whether improvements in outcomes may be conflated with being healthy enough to engage in work (with the possible threat of having benefits cut off). This threat of coercive influence appears to go against the BPS code of ethics.
“I would have thought that doing therapy in the Job Centre would be very threatening to people on benefit, but otherwise not so much. But I very much doubt they would be offering therapy to non-claimants in the job centres.”
– St Thomas’ Hospital is one of the few places alternatives to CBT is offered (e.g. CAT and other forms of psychotherapy). Provision of this is decided during the initial discussion one has with one of the therapists there. This appears more ethically sound as it takes clients’ opinions into consideration & offers choice vs solely offering CBT with its encroachment into Job Centres.
Now this scheme is being implemented.
Boycott Workfare states,
Mental health services in exchange for job seeking
Streatham Job Centre will be the first of 10 pilot sites to bring CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) into JobCentres. And the opening of Lambeth ‘Living Well Hub’ for Community Mental Health Services in the same building is planned for Monday 29th June.
As the Mental Health Resistance Network has pointed out, these together amount to an extension of the coercive powers of the 1983 Mental Health Act, with psychologists pressured to act as state enforcers and claimants potentially subject to sanctions for refusing therapy.
Whereas at present people can only be forced into “treatment” under in-patient Sections of this Act or by Community Treatment Orders, making welfare benefits and by extension housing conditional on agreeing to psychological treatment broadens the principle of compulsion.
The psychological coercion and manipulation that claimants face are inspiring a strong and growing fight back. In the face of widespread press and social media coverage, the British Psychological Society has finally made a statement ‘expressing concern‘ (it’s only taken them 18 months). We’re still waiting for an enquiry.
Join the protest at Streatham JobCentre Friday 26th June: Meet at 1.30pm Streatham Memorial Gardens, Streatham High Road/Streatham Common North, London SW16. The Facebook event is here.
Have a look at these blogs and press reports for more information.
The link to an academic paper by two members of Boycott Workfare is here
And come along to the BW social after the austerity march on Saturday 20th June! 6pm at the Old Fire Station, Holloway.