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Silent Scandal

So what is the reality of mental health on the Work Programme? It seems pretty poor. Is this a provider unique issue? I cannot know personally; I was assigned to Employment Plus by deign of the machinery of the DWP. I’m given to believe that process is based not on need or suitability (assuming any differences or areas of expertise among providers) but on who has the fewest customers at the time. Anecdotal evidence does seem to suggest that my experience is not unique. I can well believe it.

But this is not solely a problem of the adequacy of providers. While I am of course critical of the attitude undertaken by my (former) adviser, the problems run much deeper. He is only saying what he’s been drilled to say – in fact that ‘only following orders mentality’ is another and large symptom.

It goes beyond even the Work Programme itself. This attitude is systemic. It permeates the DWP from tip to toe. We all know how difficult it can be dealing with advisers, even Disability specialists. The individual that I had seen in the past couldn’t, for example, understand why I found it difficult working in busy places and made a fuss with my Jobseekers Agreement at the time. She insisted I remove retail work entirely, regardless of where I might find a job and regardless of that being the only work I’d done. Not only that but there was no suitable alternative offered and she looked down at me like I’d tried claiming that my dog had eaten my homework.

This is the attitude from the corporate filth at the top. We are blighted having this class ruling us. What use are the mentally ill, the ‘difficult’, to them? Even doctors struggle to answer that question and they are supposed to help the ill or the unwell. Doctors routinely shy away from dealing with matters related to benefits; they are averse to dealing with claims and claimants like garlic to vampires.

No one wants to help people with difficulties because there’s no money to be made. This attitude has infected society festering into a weeping sore of division and disapproval. People in the street do the jackboot job of the corporate elite; happy to judge others on their behalf like a cross between Neighbourhood Watch and ATOS. The mentally ill must be judged and made pariahs publicly. It is for their own good. There is a time and a place that this reminds me of, but Godwin’s Law prevents me from naming it. I think you know what I mean.

The People’s Assembly meets on Saturday in Westminster. I can’t attend, but I can only hope that, despite the sneering prejudice that, sadly, it has already attracted, something positive comes from that. There’s no doubt that those sniffy of the likes of Owen Jones might have a point. Grimly, they may be proven right. But to them I say: give it a chance. Hear what they have to say on Saturday and then make a judgement. I certainly agree we need deeds not words, and we need then en mass in solidarity and right now. The unions have abandoned us, particularly the PCS whose agents enact the sanctions against the poorest, rendering them from society utterly, and Labour has turned blue. The silent scandal of mental difficulty must not go on.


  1. I fear it may be too late to make any difference. Neoliberalism is the future, and that's that. There is no Labour party now, the Lib Dems are just yellow Tories, and the other parties are too small and marginal to make much difference (I am of course referring to the likes of the Greens, not UKIP...).

    No, I fear we are atop a long and slippery slope. You shied away from referring to the horrors of the '30s and '40s, but the evils of that time didn't just happen out of nowhere. We already have the same type of rhetoric being employed against "the underclass" i.e. anyone who isn't comfortably well off, and I can only see things getting worse.

    1. Indeed. The seeds were sown long before just as they are being sown now. An uncaring society that will discard the incapable and make pariahs of them.

  2. I have mental health difficulties and this was well known to the WP provider when I was referred - at first I was quite happy to discuss it with them in the hope they would take it into account. They didn't even refer to it. If you look at the list of WP providers for each area, you can see all the subcontractors they claim are available to their 'customers', yet when I went along no spot or specialised provider was offered to me. It wasn't even brought up. I remember in the nineties ppl talking about how there was no money for mental health because nobody cared. My own experience with the health services have shown that to a degree. It's often insulting to talk to anyone at the DWP about health issues because - even when someone is caring and listens - there's nothing they can do, the system won't let them and they don't have the knowledge to understand. It makes me feel so low to realise it'll only get worse, but it will. Especially, as you pointed out, now everyone is expected to fit into some daft image of the 'ideal citizen' and if you don't, not only will you be disregarded but positively attacked.

    1. It's difficult to even bring up anything that could be perceived as obstructive. Dare say you have problems and you could be seen as sabotaging your efforts which is, of course, a sanctionable offence. At best you will be told 'other people manage', as i was once when I asked about the financial help to start a job I was promised prior. The whole system is a house of cards.

  3. I am technically fit for work, i have tendonitis, osteoarthritis of both ankles, degenerating bones plus the bones there have healed wrong so i can badly sprain/re break my ankle at anytime even sitting here in front of the computer they can go. My doctors dont believe in people being sick, so they will not at least tell the dwp what i need. the dwp cant do anything without a doctors say so. Now because of my pain constant and every day i have to take 8 pain pills i am a liability to be an employer. I have explained that my barriers are. public transport not allowed to drive, employers dont want to take a risk on hiring me because of my medical.. they then say well they hire disabled people, well yes but i am not classed and my situation means i could kill myself or others easily so they dont want to hire me.. of course its all my fault my ankles are buggered according to them..

    1. Doctors essentially and sadly are fobbing people off when they ought to be more helpful. They believe work is the great panacea but aren't subtle enough to accept that only applies to the right job. They don't realise nor udnerstand that the DWP doesn't care about the right job and you aren't afforded the support to find it.

  4. Sorry for an off-topic post, but I thought you might find this interesting...

    It seems Mr Littlewood wants to ride roughshod over the Data Protection Act, and whatever traditions of fairness and decency this country has left. Interestingly, Mr Littlewood is a former Lib-Dem.

    1. I did find that interesting. Thanks.

      Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.

      What an ugly little man Mark Littlewood is; perennially appearing on the bbc and given license and funding to say these awful things. he's a libertarian which means it's ok to benefit from all the things society provides but to deny them to others that don't happen to be as fortunate.

      He's saying what others are thinking; that's the job of the 'Institute for Economic Affairs'.



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