We are a collective of Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, Psychotherapists, other professionals and concerned citizens in South Devon who are unable to continue to observe the impact of the current benefits system on the people we work with and remain silent. The aim of this letter is to raise awareness and compassionate action regarding the detrimental effect of the PIP and ESA processes on the mental health of people who are already experiencing emotional distress and can be considered to be living with mental health difficulties and/or the complex nuances of learning disabilities or acquired brain injury.
Research from the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester has shown that the Government’s change to housing welfare policy commonly known as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ is contributing (alongside other changes in welfare) to significant hardship among low-income families, and that this is having a negative impact on the education and wellbeing of children in Manchester. It had already been established that there is a connection between poverty and education, such that the poorer a child’s family the less well they are likely to do in their education, and that mental health problems are also associated with negative outcomes and experience within education.
Supporters of WalkTheTalk are once again heading to London, starting in Leicester on the 1st September 2016.
This years Walk The Talk will be led by James McLean of The Leicester Homelessness Council and the Homeless Not Worthless campaign for social justice for all homeless people across the UK. The walk will be from Leicester's £4 million Jubillee Square at St Nicholas Place to London's Trafalgar Square going via the Grand Union Canal and stopping off at a number of towns and cities along the way including Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard and Hemel Hempstead.
In August 2015, a group of volunteers walked from Leicester to London, to raise awareness of the social policies which are leading to psychological distress. This film documents a team on another journey to London, this time to meet with Luciana Berger, the former shadow minister for mental health.
Many of you may have watched Ian Hislop's latest programme for BBC 2 on Thursday the 7th April 2016, entitled “Workers or Shirkers?”, in which he explored the Victorian origins of today's Benefits system. So, the object of this article is to draw to your attention what this has to do with the current system, and the origins in World War 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that should have changed attitudes to such Benefits.
Every year we facilitate teaching to Leicester DClinPsy trainees about disempowerment, gender and social action to coincide with International Women’s Day. The past four years, we have tried to bring the ‘social action’ element to life by making it a bit more ‘action’. This has involved getting out of the classroom and utilising the teaching day and the trainee group as a resource to local people. Over the years we have built relationships with community groups in Braunstone, a residential area within the city of Leicester.
Children’s mental health is beginning to get the attention that it deserves, and there has been an effort from Government to achieve parity of esteem with physical health. However, access to support is not always easy for those that need it. There is a wide variety of evidence to show that children who live in poverty are exposed to a range of risks that can have a serious impact on their mental health, including debt, poor housing, and low income.
After my medical in the Summer of 2013 with ATOS. My Incapacity Benefit was changed to ESA (employment support allowance). An appointment was made for me with the Disability Advisor at the DWP. And I also received a letter from the DWP which announced I would be put in the Work based Activity group. The advisor at my DWP appointment explained this away by saying I would be able to go on courses at this technical college, rather than remain a client of the Disability Advisor. At no time was I informed I would be placed on a Work Programme!
A group representing Walkthetalk are delivering this dossier of experiences from the people in the Braunstone area to Westminster in March 2016 as part of a meeting with Luciana Berger. This neighbourhood has historically been disconnected from ‘Big P’ Politics; they have expressed disillusionment with politicians and feel that their voices are not heard by those in positions of power. However, the people of Braunstone are highly politically aware and have strong views.
We asked community members what they thought was important for Walkthetalk to report back to parliament.
Please don't think I am 'crazy'. I'm not. I just suffer a lot of cognitive distress and I’ve found this government terrifying and dehumanising. I will add that I am now safe due to self managing my health for the last 3 months and being compassionate to myself.
Tonight I sat and watched Jeremy Corbyn’s first Prime Minister’s question time. For the first time in four years I felt safe.
100 miles - BPS Leicester to BPS London
5 days - 17th to 21st August 2015
3 causes - The benefits system / homelessness / Food poverty
Join us to walk from Leicester to London to raise awareness of social policies that are leading to psychological distress.