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.