Benefit Sanctions and Mental Health.
Began Last Year and has got worse since…
Anybody with eyes and ears knows that there are a lot of people with mental health issues around.
Those who’ve been on the Work programme and the rest of the dreamt-up courses and schemes for the unemployed are probably aware that people with these difficulties are often shoved onto them, with no real consideration of what it means for them.
It seems that with many have been pushed off various benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA ) onto JSA and all that means in terms of the above.
Anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that people with clinical depression, even just thoroughly down in the dumps, is likely to have a hard slog of it fulfilling all the criteria the out-of-work are meant to do.
Places like public libraries, not to mention the streets, are home to individuals either receiving some kind of treatment, or, with cuts in services, increasingly no help whatsoever.
Round here there’s been the endless saga of the ramshackle Suffolk and Norfolk Mental Health Trust.
This dates from June,
Mental health staff told of feeling ‘helpless’, ‘disempowered’ and described their department as being ‘in chaos’ in a damning report, which raised serious concerns about the safety of patients they treat.
Now we have this (Thursday):
Cuts to adult mental health services in England have started damaging the quality of care given to patients, a report suggests.
The review by the King’s Fund think tank found there was now “widespread evidence of poor quality care”.
Researchers linked this to the use of unproven, cheaper services in a bid to balance the books.
One mental health charity says “disappearing” services are putting lives at risk.
But the government said the amount of money being made available for mental health had been increased overall.
The review also pointed to growing evidence that there was inadequate support for those with severe problems.
It said only 14% of patients had reported receiving appropriate care in a crisis, while hospital bed occupancy rates were routinely exceeding recommended levels – leading to patients being sent to units many miles away from their home.
On the same day we learnt this:
Reports the Independent.
The number of benefit sanctions imposed on people with mental health problems has increased by over 600 per cent over the last four years, Department for Work and Pensions statistics show.
A joint analysis of the figures by the Independent and the mental health charity Mind found that 19,259 people with such conditions had their benefits stopped under sanction in 2014-15 compared to just 2,507 in 2011-12 – a 668 per cent rise.
The finding comes weeks after ministers rejected a call to investigate whether such sanctions – which involve stopping a person’s disability benefit income for weeks at a time to enforce compliance – are damaging to mental health.
The ramping up of the policy goes against the advice of mental health charities, who have previously warned that its aggressive approach worsens mental health problems and makes it harder for people to return to work.
Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind, said the dramatic rise was “alarming” and that the Government was refusing to listen to criticism of the sanctions’ impact.
“Stopping somebody’s benefits, or threatening to stop them, is completely the wrong approach to help people with mental health problems find work – it’s actually counterproductive. Pressurising someone to engage in often inappropriate activities under the threat of losing their benefit causes a huge deal of additional anxiety, often making people more unwell and less able to work,” he told the Independent.
Are these two articles related?