JUDICIAL REVIEW JUDGEMENT
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK
SENIOR JUDGES RULE THAT THE WORK CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) welcomes the judgement handed down today by judges in the Upper Tribunal in the case of the two claimants with mental health problems who have challenged the manner in which people with mental health difficulties are assessed for their fitness for work through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
The court held that the WCA process disadvantages people with mental health problems because they have greater difficulty than others in explaining to the Atos assessor how their condition affects their fitness to work. The solution is for Atos and the DWP to seek evidence from the claimant’s doctors and others in the community that know what they can do. But the DWP have consistently refused to take this step.
Those who have been claiming that the WCA significantly disadvantages people with mental health problems have been vindicated by today’s judgment. The court has ordered the DWP to put forward proposals for how they will go about ensuring that they have obtained further medical evidence from claimants’ own health care professionals to ensure that any difficulties people have with self reporting are properly taken into account. It is also vital that no one’s health is put at risk by any decision made by the DWP due to failure to obtain appropriate evidence.
In order to assess a person with mental health problems fitness for work it is necessary to obtain such evidence and this has not been the practice of the DWP and Atos in most cases. The judgment is clear: to routinely fail to consider evidence put forward by their own health care practitioners (the DWP current practice) places people with MHPs at a significant disadvantage which means that the current practice has been – and remains – discriminatory. We believe that many people would be spared needless distress if the DWP and ATOS sought and understood the medical histories of the individuals they seek to assess, rather than simply assessing a person’s short term functioning without taking into account the myriad of handicaps and difficulties they face in surviving on a daily basis.
The MHRN has supported the claimants’ case throughout as we believe that the WCA is not fit for the purpose of correctly identifying those people who should receive benefits. ATOS have not shown itself to be capable of fairly assessing people who are signicantly disadvantaged and subject to high levels of trauma and distress. Following on from the court’s decision, it is imperative that Atos assessors cease making inappropriate assessments, and put into immediate effect significant changes to their practices, to prevent further avoidable distress, trauma and suicides, and we call on people to continue to work together to fight against subjecting vulnerable people to this cruel process.
We are concerned at the language which has come to dominate this debate, and are outraged that unfounded DWP claims about levels of fraudulent claims are often simply parroted, resulting in claimants being increasingly viewed as scroungers. Time and time again the DWP has been shown to be misusing statistics in order to advance their ideological assault on the services that have been integral to making society in Britain fairer and more civilised. The misinformation that has surrounded the so-called ‘reforms’ to welfare undermines our democracy in so far as the public are agreeing to huge changes based of false perceptions.
We call on journalists to challenge this ideological assault and to ensure that those who are in genuine need are not subject to further trauma and distress as we all seek a way of making things bearable.
We do not believe that these so-called welfare reforms were ever intended to help disabled people back into work, or could ever achieve such an outcome when they are implemented so harshly and callously. Rather it is increasingly clear to us that these ‘reforms’ are part of a drive to bring down wages by creating a pool of desperate impoverished people who will be forced to accept the unacceptable in order to survive. In addition they are trying to boost the interests of the business owners and corporations such as the insurance company UNUM who have been instrumental in designing the WCA.
The MHRN intends now to focus on setting up a local centre where those who are affected by the myriad of cuts to services and benefits can come together to offer mutual support and to find ways of resisting the Tory onslaught together.
We remember those of our friends who have been driven to despair and suicide by the actions of this government, the DWP and Atos. We will continue to struggle in their memory in order to try and prevent needless deaths and trauma in the future.
Please find below details of a competition to design a new logo for the Lambeth & Southwark wellbeing network.
The winner will receive £20 worth of LovetoShop vouchers.
Deadline for entries 3 June to email@example.com or by post to:
Wellbeing Logo competition
c/o Stephanie Hofmann
1 St Barnabas Terrace
We now have the ability to upload audio files to the blog, thanks to Steve R.
Thanks to Bridget and Matthew for this recording.
We are now looking for volunteers to read out some of our posts, and for volunteers with the technology to record these into audio files, in order for us to upload them to the blog.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be able to help to either read or record files for us, and we’ll do our best to match up readers and recorders.
Many thanks if you can help
With best wishes,
We are pleased to send you…
KINDRED MINDS: E-bulletin May 2013. 003/02
via group email and facebook.
Kindred Minds fortnightly Pop-In sessions for May is on
Thursday 9th & 23 May 2013 at
Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square (off Camberwell Rd)
London SE5 0HF
from 4pm til 6pm
TalkShop, the men’s discussion group
Is currently running every Saturday,
at Inspire, The Crypt,
St Peters Church, Liverpool Grove
London SE17 2HH
Doors open 6pm
Discussion starts 6.30.
Facilitated by Humphrey and Garry.
- Ø MONTHLY BME WOMANS GROUP.
- Ø CROSSING CULTURE EVENTS.
OTHER SOUTHWARK BME MENTAL HEALTH GROUPS:
OTHER LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH GROUPS / ACTIVITIES:
Rachel Mothers Group is an organisation for women living in Southwark,
providing support and information to all women from age 18-70.
current services include: the Rachel Children and Families Group every Wednesday from 10am-12pm. And a Therapeutic women group every Thursday from 3.15-5.00pm.
Based at the Crossways Centre, Rye Lane, Peckham.
Contact Sherika: 07432 531352
Lambeth and Southwark Mind: Women’s Forum
for women who experience mental health difficulties
Friday 24th May at Inspire
for further details call 020 7358 7030
Dragon Cafe on Mondays only 11.30 – 20.30
in the crypt of St George the Martyr Church SE1 1JA
for more info call Sarah on 07557 365 959
or checkout www.dragoncafe.co.uk
How to improve your wellbeing
a one day workshop for people who live in Southwark
call Seon on 020 3228 3748
Conversation Cafe, free friendly and informal
for speakers of other languages who want to improve their English
at Newington Library, 155 Walworth Road SE17 1RS
Thursdays 11.45am – 12.45 pm
South London mental health walks
CoolTan Arts have joined up with Southwark council to provide a series of guided walks around South London.
CoolTan Arts already have experience of facilitating a long running public walk project – the volunteer led ‘Largactyl Shuffle’. Made up of individuals with experience of mental distress, the group lead a monthly cultural walk through Southwark.
For further information or to discuss accessibility requirements please phone Project Coordinator Georgina Rogers on 020 7701 2696.
Feel better with a book
is a new weekly group to share reading
at Canada Water Library
21 Surrey Quays Road SE16 7ar
every Wednesday 11am to 1pm
phone 020 7525 2515 or
BBC Radio 5 Live request
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week BBC Radio 5 Live are discussing the usefulness or otherwise of psychological diagnosis.
They are looking to try to speak to people about their experience of being diagnosed with a mental health condition and life afterwards.
It follows concerns from some professionals that there are too many “labels” and people are maybe diagnosed with a mental health condition too quickly and easily. Perhaps in reality they don’t have that condition and do not in reality require treatment.
Radio 5 Live are looking to try to speak to people with different experiences:
Have you been diagnosed and think it was the right judgement and your medication since has helped transform your life in a positive way?
Do you think you were diagnosed with a condition that you don’t actually have – as a result you have been receiving unnecessary treatment?
If you think you can help please email email@example.com
Samaritans Talk to us
If there’s something troubling you, then get in touch. Talk to us any time you like, in your own way, and off the record – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to suffer alone.
If you have any concerns about our service before you try it, we want to reassure you about them. Hear from some of our callers how we helped them.
CALL US: 08457 90 90 90*
We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
*call charges apply
EMAIL US: firstname.lastname@example.org
VISIT US: Find your local Samaritans branch.
WRITE TO US: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, Chris, PO Box 90 90, Stirling, FK8 2SA
Patient Advice & Liaison Service
provides support, advice, help and information on health care services.
If you have a concern or just need advice please contact 0800 58 77 170
Lambeth and Southwark Mind Tel No: 020 7501 9203
Cambridge House Advocacy: 020 7358 7007
OCD Advocacy: 020 7253 5272
South East London Counselling: 020 7771 8113
Legal Advice Clinic
is a free public drop-in advice service
London South Bank University
Wednesday 10am to 12 noon
3pm to 5pm
Thursday 2pm to 4pm
CoolTan Arts are looking for volunteers for new CoolTan Magazine groups,
They are looking for Graphic designers, photographers, editors, workshop assistants and magazine assistants. For these roles they need volunteers who can commit to at least 10 weeks of volunteering for 3 hours per week. Contact Clara Jones at CoolTan or email: email@example.com
There are further roles available for the LGBTQ group, researcher, event planning, practical activities, graphic design and promotion and outreach. Contact CoolTan Arts on 020 7701 2696.
Volunteer Centre: Making Volunteering Easy.
Develop skills and gain new experience, enhance your CV, try something new, meet new people, get involved in your community
Unit 216 – 216 Upper Floor, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1 6TE.
Tues and Wed 10am – 4pm
Thurs 10am – 6pm.
MSAADA. – BME Volunteering project in Southwark.
Msaada is a Black and Minority Ethnic BME Volunteering Programme at the Maudsley Hospital. The programme has evolved from the dedication of volunteers and local BME service providers.
Volunteers are currently needed and can be anyone who is lives in or near the Borough of Southwark, are over 18 years old and from the Black and Minority Ethnic, (BME) community. Men and people over 50 years old are especially welcome as they are often underrepresented. No previous experience is necessary and service users and survivors are encouraged to apply. You must be willing to commit to volunteering up to 50 hours over a six month period either in the hospital or in a community setting. Free training is offered with the potential to receive the Level One Open College Network accreditation in ‘Introduction to Adult Social Care.’
Please contact Joseph.Kiguwa@slam.nhs.uk or phone 020 3228 5945 for more information and application packs.
Mental Health and Employment
The subject of mental health within the work place is always a difficult subject. Employers are not supposed to discriminate against disability whether it is physical or mental, but who can honestly say they would be happy putting a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar on an application form? Not many I would bet. Raise recently ran some workshops at a disability and employment workshop and asked people what the main barriers to employment for people with Mental Health problems. Here are the results which make an interesting read:
Barriers (in order of importance)
- § Fear from employers of the financial cost of an employee who might not be able to fulfil a ‘normal’ workload regularly
- § Fluctuating mental health affecting ability to maintain routine (including side effects of medication)
- § Current job market means employer is in control (more scope to pick and choose)
- § Stigma around mental health
- § Lack of flexibility, trust & acceptance
- § Job centre staff lacking skills & training in mental health
- § Unawareness of employers knowing system & responsibilities of wellbeing
- § Disruptive education may lead to lack of qualifications – yet may still be able to do the job well but lack of qualifications prevent applications
- § Lack of support during application process
- § Covert aggression of questioning – having to explain gaps in career history/CV
- § Fear for employers on the effect on the team (and colleagues)
- § Occupational health
- § Additional interview tests are potentially discriminatory
Solutions (in order of importance)
- § Career support for individuals (to focus on their skills, experiences, needs, desires and options)
- § Trial employment period to replace interview and application process
- § Flexible working hours
- § Mental health awareness training made compulsory for ALL employers and a named MH worker to act as a go between
- § An ‘application support agency’ – extension of the job centre
- § Jobcentre plus to be more aware of responsibilities to clients with MH issues
- § Mental health advocate in all services (from interview to employment)
- § Mentor/assistant in the workplace
- § Government funds for employers to apply to in order to replace absent employees (so it doesn’t cost them)
- § Provision of a time out/quit place to go when at work
- § Remove the stigma – increase understanding
- § Clarity of communication to enable honesty, openness and discover individuals worth, skills and ‘gold’.
Adult Learners’ Week May 2013
Adult Learners’ Week is a national celebration of the benefits of lifelong learning and is the perfect opportunity to explore the many types of learning available to adults from all walks of life.
This year it takes place between 18 and 24 May. Come along to your local library for information about local courses and browse the shelves for books to expand your mind ,and that may change your life, or pop in to one of our free events. For more information on events in Lambeth libraries go to our Learning in Libraries webpage.
Free careers advice and guidance
There will be a free careers advice and guidance session at Brixton Library from 1 to 3.30pm every Thursday. Also learn about the psychology of happiness with our new well-being workshops running at Brixton library as part of Adult Learners’ Week
Please drop in to receive advice on courses and how to do your CV.
Get Happy in Adult Learners’ Week
Maudsley Debate – Has psychiatric diagnosis advanced the care of people with mental health problems? This Maudsley Debate looks like it might be interesting.
To coincide with the publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), sometimes described as the “Bible” of American psychiatry, the Institute of Psychiatry is hosting a debate on the issue of psychiatric diagnosis. Some argue that a rigorously standardised system of classification of mental disorders forms an essential role in conceptualising a patient’s problem, in predicting what treatments are likely to be effective, and in conducting valid scientific research. Others consider psychiatric diagnoses to be no more than labels, which lack scientific and predictive validity and serve only to stigmatise and objectify those who suffer from mental disorders.
These issues will be debated in the 48th Maudsley Debate on Wednesday 5 June at 6pm at the Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill.
The motion is “This House believes that psychiatric diagnosis has advanced the care of people with mental health problems.”
Speaking for the motion: Prof Norman Sartorius, former president of the World Psychiatric Association
Prof Anthony David, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry
Speaking against the motion: Dr Felicity Callard, Senior Lecturer in Social Science for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Dr Pat Bracken, Clinical Director of Mental Health in West Cork.
Chair: Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Vice Dean for Academic Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry
Location: Wolfson Lecture Theatre, Institute of Psychiatry Main Building, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF
Time and Date: Wednesday 5th June, 6pm (refreshments served from 5.30pm)
Contact: Hannah Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Get fit, be happy and feel great on the inside, outside with outdoor gyms in Southwark.
Outdoor gyms are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, The equipment is low impact so it is easy and safe to use without a gym induction, you don’t need any experience to use them, and there’s no membership to pay. So save yourself the membership fee and give it a try! But please do remember to stretch before and after any exercise.
Come along and give it a go, find an outdoor gym at
Peckham Rye Park SE15
Our first outdoor gym was installed in Peckham Rye Park back in 2009, after the Young Friends of Peckham Rye Park managed to get funding to build it. Follow the path leading from the entrance near the junction of Peckham Rye and Homestall Road, past the Adventure Playground and you will find the gym next to the skate park.
Haddon Hall Estate SE1
At Haddon Hall Estate the outdoor gym is on Potier Street, just off Great Dover Street. It’s not just for Estate residents – anyone can use it.
Mint Street Park SE1
Mint Street Park can be reached from Southwark Bridge Road and Marshalsea Road. The outdoor gym is opposite the children’s play area.
Southwark Park SE16
You can also try an outdoor gym at Southwark Park, where it is located between China Hall Gates and the Cafe Gallery.
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park SE1
Our newest outdoor gym is at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park next to the Sports Facility building.
Aylesbury Estate SE17
The outdoor gym at the Aylesbury Estate can be accessed from either Thurlow Street or Portland Street. It is near the junction of Inville Road and Beaconsfield Road and you don’t need to live on the Estate to use it.
Burgess Park SE5
Burgess Park boasts two outdoor gyms. The first one can be found next to Albany Road at the junction with Canal Street. More recently a trail of gym equipment has been installed which begins in the southeast corner of the park, near the junction of St Georges Way and Sumner Road.
Lordship Lane Estate SE22
The Lordship Lane Estate Tenants & Residents Association have agreed that anyone can use their outdoor gym. It is located behind Campbell Court, so if you enter the Estate from Dulwich Common you will find the gym on your left next to the Children’s Play Centre.
Dulwich Park SE21
Dulwich Park also has a trail of gym equipment either side of the path that runs between Roseberry Gate entrance and Queen Mary’s Gate entrance.
Durand’s Wharf SE16
Our newest outdoor gym is located by the river at Durand’s Wharf in Rotherhithe and has great views across the Thames.
Kindred Minds – A Southwark Black and minority ethnic (BME), user-led mental health project.
Office based at: Cambridge House, 1 Addington Square, LondonSE5 0HF
Office tel: 020 7358 7029
Mobile: 07809 701 434 text or call us to receive messages of Kindred Minds events.
Facebook us: Kindred Minds
Current Kindred Minds Activities:
Kindred Minds Talkshop, a BME Men’s weekly discussion group every Saturday 6.30-8.30pm @ Inspire, The Crypt, St.Peter’s Church, Liverpool Grove, SE17 2HH
Kindred Minds PoP-In fortnightly drop-in space @ Cambridge House 4-6pm on:. April 11th and 25th, May 9th and 23rd, June 6th and 20th, July 4th and 18th, August 1st, 15th, 29th, September 12th and 26th, October 10th, 24th, November 7th and 21st and December celebration.
Kindred Minds Members Committee has been formed and is working on ideas for the coming year. If you’d like to be involved let us know.
Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) typically suffer from depression more frequently than those without COPD, resulting in higher levels of disability and illness and increasing the overall healthcare burden for the COPD population. Now, a study from researchers in Argentina indicates female COPD patients and patients who experience significant shortness of breath may have the greatest risk for developing depression.
The results of the study were presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference.
“About 10 percent of the general population suffers from depression, and studies have shown that rate to be significantly higher in patients with COPD,” said study lead author Orlando Lopez Jove, MD, chief of the pulmonary laboratory at the Hospital Cetrangolo in Buenos Aires. “Not every COPD patient will suffer from depression, and being able to identify which patients are most at risk could be a valuable tool in ensuring those patients receive counseling and other treatment that could help improve their quality of life.
“In this study, we wanted to learn if factors including gender, lifestyle habits, COPD severity, shortness of breath and overall quality of life were related to the frequency of depression in COPD patients, and if they were related, to try to determine the extent of that relationship,” he said.
For their study, the researchers evaluated 113 COPD patients who were treated at the Hospital Cetrangolo in Buenos Aires from January 2009 to March 2011 and who had not had exacerbations of their disease within the previous 30-day period. Patients were evaluated for pulmonary function and for the degree of shortness of breath they experienced, as well as other physical characteristics including weight and body mass index (BMI). The researchers used previous diagnoses of depression and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to determine the presence and level of depression and the Saint George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) to evaluate quality of life measures for each patient, and they also looked at specific lifestyle factors and habits like smoking and evaluated family history of depression. Patients were considered to be physically active if they engaged in physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week, the amount recommended by the American Heart Association to maintain good health.
At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that while the severity of COPD and smoking had no bearing on whether or not a patient had depression or their level of depression, patients who were female and those experiencing significant shortness of breath were at a significantly greater risk for the condition. They also found that the presence of depression and its intensity had a direct bearing on a patient’s quality of life, affecting both the total quality-of-life score and the score for individual factors measured by the SGRQ.
The researchers also identified physical activity as a protective factor against depression, meaning patients who had higher levels of physical activity were less prone to developing depression.
“Depression is a disorder which remains easily undiagnosed due to underpresentation and because the symptoms are not very specific,” said Dr. Lopez Jove, who is also vice-director of the pathophysiology department at the Latin American Thoracic Association (ALAT). “Therefore, it is important to consider this disorder in patients with COPD, especially in female patients and patients who experience significant shortness of breath.
A future planned study will help evaluate how treatment of depression affects these patients and their quality of life, he said.
“COPD patients have to deal not only with the physical consequences of the disease, but they also must deal with the psychological consequences of COPD,” Dr. Lopez Jove noted. “Patients with depression often suffer from low self-confidence or self-efficacy, and early diagnosis and treatment of depression is very important for improving a patient’s quality of life, maximizing healthcare utilization and improving treatment outcomes.”
#RT via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com via Matthew