Mental Health – Talk or Stay Silent?

Also at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/jayne-linney/mental-health-talk-or-stay-silent_b_9416632.html

Today Mind have launched their “Take Off The Tape” Campaign which focusses on Anxiety; their website states “Do you talk about what’s most worrying you? Or do you keep your mouth shut about things that make you anxious?… Stop being silenced by your anxiety“.

Whilst as a mental health sufferer and counsellor  I welcome this recognition of the dangers and devastation of living with poor mental health, and can understand how talking openly about their anxieties and concerns might be of some help in some cases. The relief of ‘getting things of your chest’ can help you feel lighter and may for  while,help with the symptoms but faced with a personal trigger and you’re right back where you were, because talking does not help deal with the cause of your mental health.

Mental Health is currently being widely acknowledged, from the media to government  as a real problem, This may have something to do with the growing numbers of people experiencing poor mental health, this rise is being witnessed in children, employees, new mums and the Armed forces, to name just a few of the recognised groups , but whatever the reason, most reports concur the rise is down to  cuts to services and the pressures of the Austerity agenda; even the Governments ‘pledge’ for a revolution in mental health treatment and the accompanying investment in services,  accepts poor Mental Health is to do with poverty.

Living in Poverty from the real fears of not being able to manage financially to the social isolation it causes is extremely stressful, and excessive stress is an established trigger for depression (i). Add to this ill health, another one of the biggest causes of stress , and you regularly have a situation for mental melt down; and we at DEAEP are seeing numerous examples of this. People are coming to us trapped in this viscous cycle of poverty & depression, most of them are experiencing benefit cuts and are being offered no option other surviving with less than they need; and in the most extreme cases or being institutionalised. Is it any wonder these people are finding themselves experiencing extreme pain, exasperation of existing conditions and Mental Health problems?

What I find most disconcerting, is whilst mental health as a health issue, is experiencing the benefits of publicity and recognition;what is less acknowledged is the associated rise in penalisation of those of us with poor mental health. We are at a much higher risk of being detained against our will, with a 9.8% increase, almost Double the figures for 1013/14,  of people being detained under the Mental Health Act; We are more likely to be sanctioned if we claim benefits with a 600% rise over the past four years, and whilst 6,122 of us over the age of 10 committed suicide in 2014, the rates for both women and men outside of  institutions rose.  Given this it seems we’re equally damned if we do admit our vulnerabilities and Talk.

 

 

 

i Makosky, V. P. (1982) ‘Sources of stress: Events or conditions? ‘ In: D. Belle (ed.) Lives in stress: Women and Depression, pp. 35–53. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

Sickness worsening? Beware following DWP rules

Before Christmas I attended an emergency interim appointment with my psychotherapist, (I’m still waiting regular appointments 2 years after referral); this was due to my continuous depression and dissociation becoming dangerous, I was constantly fighting thoughts of suicide . Because the S word was used, my therapist was obliged to write to my GP, which then led to my carer being compelled to inform the DWP of a change in my circumstances; what amazed me was, this reported change resulted in me having to complete a new claim!

Why the DWP feel a deterioration in mental health would be helped by having to go through the process of a new claim I’ve no idea? Anyway my carer duly filled in the form, and on page 31, other information, he stated HE was both my full time carer and would be acting as my representative, this was then sent off along with the appropriate report from my therapist.

I received a home visit fairly quickly from a pleasant man, who after numerous requests as to his qualifications, reluctantly admitted he was a paramedic; when it came to him asking me about my mental health he decided it would be a good idea to tell me of his experiences of dealing with people who had taken their own lives. In truth all this did, was inform me where not to carry out my thoughts, and in no way made me feel any more positive; if anything it caused me to focus on my suicide plan even more.

Two weeks ago the dreaded brown envelope arrived with the decision; which along with the usual errors of the decision makers (DM) not reading the information, this unknown DM had in their wisdom, determined, because I am still on the waiting list for regular therapy, my mental health wasn’t too bad!

As if this wasn’t enough to deal with, the same day my daughter phoned and said she had also received a copy of my decision; I went ballistic. The whole reason for Tony, my partner dealing with everything was because I didn’t want my daughter knowing just how ill I was.

As this was a Saturday, I stressed until the Monday morning when Tony rang to request a copy of the assessors report, he also asked why my information had been sent out to another person; the call centre operative checked and apparently a decision maker had decided to change him as my rep and add my daughter instead?!!

A complaint was immediately written and sent off and we’re awaiting the response; so be warned, if you have a change in circumstances be prepared to go through yet another claim and hope your info doesn’t get sent to anyone else.

I’ll update this when the reply arrives.

 

After forced-psychometric-test debacle, now Jobcentres offer online CBT

Last year I reported how the DWP were planning a new scheme aimed at depression sufferers with  “Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression

Today the SKWAWKBOX pick up the latest on this dangerous and futile programme….

 

Last year, the SKWAWKBOX triggered a severely-embarrassing chain of events for the government by revealing that the DWP’s Jobcentre Plus (JCP) centres, under instruction from David Cameron’s ‘Nudge Unit’ (read: psychological-manipulation), were forcing unemployed people, under threat of immediate loss of benefits, to take un-validated and dangerous ‘psychometric tests’ without ‘informed consent’ and, quite possibly, illegally in more ways than one. We also revealed a nudge-unit ‘front’ masquerading as a bona fide psychological institution.

It turned out that these tests were so poorly and cynically constructed that they gave the same ‘results’ to those completing them regardless of the answers entered – or even if the test was completed without entering any answers at all. The test had been taken –without permission – from a US psychologist linked to torture techniques such as waterboarding. (The author then objected to the unethical use of the test by the UK government!)

Once exposed, both government departments tried desperately to deny what they were doing, but then contradicted themselves more than once, then inadvertently admitted it again. The government claimed that the tests were a trial in just a few areas that had since been discontinued, but this was then shown not to be the case. Claims that the test had been designed and implemented by ‘experts’ turned out to be false and the ‘training’ given to JCP operatives on how to decide who should complete the test turned out to be ‘an informal chat’.

National newspapers started to take up the story and the British Psychological Society even became involved, investigating the psychologist responsible, at least notionally, for the decision to conduct the enforced-test programme.

You would think the government would have learned its lesson, but no.

An article on the ‘Same Difference’ blog reveals that Jobcentre Plus staff are sending people diagnosed with depression a link to an online CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) course, claiming not that it might be helpful but that it will cure their depression. Or, in their words:

Beating the blues is just a click away

Read the original article for an image of the ad and link.

CBT is widely used to treat various mental disorders, including depression. But it is generally meant to be conducted in person by a trained professional. Its effectiveness is, however, widely disputed and studies have shown that CBT consisting of ‘self-help’ reading of materials by the patient produce harmful results.

The therapy has also been heavily criticised because it is built around maintaining the status quo – in other words, getting people to feel better about situations that it would be perfectly rational to dislike, feel depressed about or want to change.

And nobody, as far as I know, would claim CBT will ‘beat’ depression. Especially with ‘just a click’.

This latest move is perfectly in line with the government’s already-evidenced desire to get us all to acquiesce to things that we should fight and with its contempt and callousness toward ordinary, disadvantaged people.

But not at all in line with a genuine concern for the well-being of people who are unemployed, suffering from mental illness or both.

Mental health groups will, rightly, be outraged – but could someone in the mainstream media please run with this and give yet another DWP scandal the attention it so obviously deserves?

(There are too many posts on the original DWP ‘test’ to reference in this one article. If you want to read the rest, please use the search function and enter ‘psychometric’.)

Another Government ‘Fag packet’ proposal for Benefit Sanctions & Cuts ?

Rarely do I come across a Tory Policy proposal that makes me both Smile (albeit at the irony) and Shudder (with fear); but today’s report in the Telegraph does exactly this; “Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression“, this worries me on several levels.

The article quotes their source as saying “We know that depression and anxiety are treatable conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapies work and they get people stable again but you can’t mandate people to take that treatment“; I totally agree with the closing proviso but the apparent claim CBT works for depression and anxiety is False.

Firstly Depression is not a ‘one size fits all’ disorder, there are different types of this debilitating illness, and a notion it can be conveniently summed up to enforce potentially damaging treatment is downright dangerous as well as being futile.  This position applies equally to Anxiety, again there are different types of Anxiety disorders which require different specialist treatments; therefore this all embracing decision, being discussed by Politicians based upon saving money is, to me, terrifying.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works to enable people understand the relationships between their feelings, thinking, behaviours and environment, and to identify ways in which these can become problems; ergo CBT only works when depression and, or anxiety arises from internal conflict. Personally I have found CBT to be of little or no use when clinical issues, i.e. schizophrenia, is  the primary causes of the disorder; further where external factors are reinforcing the disorders, I personally have found CBT only has limited benefits.  I am not purporting CBT has no use in supporting depressive or anxiety sufferers, but it is not the only form of treatment necessary for enabling improved mental health. Given the mandate for this scheme is the ” loads of people who claim ESA (for Depression and Anxiety) who undergo no treatment whatsoever“, it is difficult to understand how the Government is to utilise fully trained CBT workers anyway?

Minsters are already piloting different ways of implementing this scheme, four JobCentres are currently “combining “talking therapies” with employment support“; soon we will witness  “group work” to help build the “resilience” of individuals who are out of work and suffering with poor mental health” the “hiring specialist private organisations outside the NHS and welfare system to take control of providing a combination of psychological and employment support to claimants” and finally “online tests and therapies at improving individuals’ health and job prospects“. These four trials will then be assessed, presumably with cost effectiveness, being the primary focus’ so no prizes for guessing which ‘approach’ the Government will adopt – more work for the nudge unit coming up?

These trials are a joint effort between the DWP & Dept of Health, and emerge from the report Talking Therapies: a four year plan of action  and initially was targeted at people 18-65  as an “economic case on which it was based showed that providing therapy could benefit not only the individual but also the nation, by helping people come off sick pay and benefits and stay in or return to work“. There we have it another quick fix based on Finance First and presumably will form the basis of yet another area of Cuts in Welfare; but once again aimed at sick and disabled people

As I acknowledge at the beginning of this post, the Government Ministers making these decisions about how mental health sufferers should be treated, deny participation in these trials will be mandatory, seeming to recognise willingness to participate is central any talking treatment working. However the Telegraph states “Conservatives could include the proposal for mandatory treatments in the party manifesto next year as part of the next phase of reforms to the welfare state” and I can’t help but think they are probably accurate in this.

Will this turn out to be yet another example of how the Government says one thing and then does another? If you agree with me in this Join the TRUTH campaign

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

UK Poverty IS a National Disgrace – For Everyone

This is an email I felt had to be wriiten, it was sent to Paul O’ Grady in response to his article on Child Poverty in yesterday’s Mirror – sent to him via his website email

 

Dear Paul

 
Further to your article in the Mirror today, whilst I totally agree with you, I wish you and others concerned with this disgraceful situation,would also acknowledge this problem extends to include Millions of disabled, elderly and other vulnerable people; in fact dozens of disabled people are dying weekly and to date the figure since the inception of Welfare Reform could be as high as 38,000+
 
I totally concur with your points that poorer children are more likely to have mental health problems, and again this is the position with all people in poverty;
and I agree the current position should be a national disgrace, particularly whilst the Richest prosper disproportionally in the UK. Embarrassingly whilst the treatment of disabled people is so severe, our media, in the main ignores it, and yet other nationalities agree it warrants reporting in their National Press press, I refer to this article in Le Monde
 
I hope you can find the time to read the links as I’m sure you will agree that Poverty in the UK is a Disgrace regardless of the people it affects.
 
Regards
 
Jayne Linney
I’ll let you know if I get a response
 

Will there ever be poetic justice in this world?

This is a joint post with Chris Wayne; who like myself, as  I’ve previously disclosed  suffers from a range of illnesses, including depression and other mental health disorders; this results in our moods being erratic (at least).

And …

Some days I feel like sunshine
Some days I feel like dirt
Some days I live life to the max
Some days my head just hurts

I also have a range of physical disorders and these seriously impact on my mental health, which is summed up wonderfully…

Some days I feel I’m floating
Some days I feel I’ve crashed
Some days my mind feels very free
Some days my mind feels trapped

Add the above to the reality that as mental health sufferers, living in the UK today with an unelected Coalition Government who have decimated our Welfare State, we are very concerned that …

Services in the UK 

Are slowly being cut

But Cameron and his chums

Just don’t give a f*ck

Although they provide the public

With a vital need

They’re being sacrificed

For the government’s own greed

They give the country

A much needed stable core

They help those who struggle

Like the vulnerable and poor

So it’s no wonder we and thousands of others are feeling

Anger’s an explosive emotion

That’s the physical embodiment of wrath

If unable to be controlled

It destroys everything in its path.

Having said this, we recognise the power of such feelings and..

 if harnessed in the right way

We can use its energy

To bring positive changes to all

In this squalid society

This acknowledgement doesn’t however stop the frustration that

Yet while it’s now so obvious

How government policies have caused hurt

Most people still ignore it

And deny that it’s occurred.

This is despite the vast amount of information and hard evidence this Government is repeatedly lying, cheating and basically using this short time in Power to rob the Country and its people of all resources possible; therefore we both feel…

Though more people are becoming ‘awake

It still isn’t enough

When will people stop sleeping

and bloody well wake up

Anyone know the answer??