|This is from a post sent to us asking us to make people aware of the issues
Brighter Berkshire/Conservatives for Mental Health
|I am worried about labour politicians being co-opted into promoting Conservative mental health policy in mental health initiatives that have cross party support. There is metal health awareness campaign in Swindon started by a conservative and is using Conservatives for Mental Health to work under. The women who has started it is calling on people from all parties to work together. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/15559149.Activist_launches_cross_party_campaign_to_tackle_mental_health_issues/ This is the organisation that she is working with https://www.conservativesformentalhealth.co.uk/
There is a mental health awareness raising campaign called Brighter Berkshire that looks quite similar. It says it has cross party support but to my mind shows conservative bias and has Theresa May on the front page and Richard Benyon, Tory MP for Berkshire is heavily involved. They tweeted support for Richard Benyon in the run up to the General Election. They get involved at about the time they were both talking about new Conservative mental health campaigns.
Looking at this closely it seems there is an emphasis on cutting services and putting pressure on getting people back to work as cheap labour. Here is a link to Brighter Berkshire http://brighterberkshire.com/ Unfortunately a small number of labour politicians have got involved and endorsed the campaigns, one being Matt Rodda MP for Reading East.
I am worried that Brighter Berkshire become a model for mental health awareness campaigns across the country and that they will be used to promote Tory policy and make them look good. So I would be grateful if you could discuss this and address it at a national level and warn labour MP\’s to be careful before attaching themselves to any mental health campaigns to make sure they are not biased campaigns or promote Tory policies.
I have set up a facebook group about this. The founder of Brighter Berkshire is on group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/199827027227205/ Feel free to share it around or join.
Please book if you want to come, and circulate to anyone you think might interested.
This is a meeting for organisations and individuals involved in campaigning around mental health in East London. We want to offer a space for people to get together and talk about how we might support each other and share resources in the face of the growing crisis in the UK’s psychological welfare and mental health provision – in the boroughs of East London in particular.
We are a group of mental health professionals and service users campaigning around various aspects of mental health and welfare, some of us involved with the Mental Wealth Alliance and its campaigns around workfare and the psycho-compulsion of benefits claimants with mental health difficulties.
We have hired the Scott Room at Oxford House for the day, and will be putting on a free showing of I, Daniel Blake to help us tune in to the connections between psychological distress and austerity politics – poverty, homelessness, the housing crisis, benefit cuts and the dismantling of the welfare state, low wages and zero-hour contracts, ever-increasing inequalities of wealth, income and resources, cuts and privatisation in all public services.
The rough programme for the day is:
10.00 am arrive – coffee and tea
10.30 am introductions – who we are and what we are interested in.
11.15 am showing of Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake and discussion
1.15 – 2.00 pm lunch together – bring food to share
2.00 – 3.30 pm how can we support each other in our campaigns and our lives?
The event is free. We will be asking people on the day to donate what they can towards the costs.
As well as general demands for improved rights of disabled people DPAC, Mental Health Resistance Network and Recovery in the bin have drawn up a set of specific demands for Mental Health.
After decades of oppression we believe that disabled people must be afforded self determination from the grass roots level. “Nothing About Us Without Us” must become a reality.
No Longer will we tolerate large disability charities which see us as nothing more than marketable commodities from which to make profits for their own benefit speaking for us and deciding our futures. We expect a Labour Party which claims to support disabled people’s rights to ensure that it is our voices that are listened to and not the empty voices of our oppressors. Without this guarantee DPAC cannot approve of the disability policies of any political party.
DPAC priorities for setting Mental Health Disability Policies.
We deplore the appropriation of the Recovery Model by statutory services and government departments in order to justify the withdrawal of services and benefits from people who need them.
Compulsory MH Training for Professionals in Various Fields
- Mental health training should be compulsory for all health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, and suicide awareness training should be given to all health care professionals. Such training should be kept up to date.
- All Police Forces should have full mental health awareness training, stop using section 136, and acknowledge that custody suites and lock-ups in police cells are not safe places.
- Mental health awareness training and crisis awareness training should be available for all teaching staff in primary and secondary schools, and further education institutions.
- A person suffering from mental distress should be treated with respect, courtesy, dignity, and consideration at all times as should and their families and friends.
We demand the abolition of forced treatment and Compulsory Treatment Orders (CTOs).
- All treatment should be with the full agreement of the person being treated and with their full understanding of the side effects of treatment, both pharmaceutical and psychological.
7.We demand the right to refuse treatment as it is ratified under the United Nations Convention Rights People with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
8.We want recognition of the link between abuse and trauma, and mental distress. The British Psychological Society has already made this link.
9.We demand the recognition that child abuse prevention is also mental distress prevention.
- We want the abolition of the medical model of mental distress to be replaced with an acceptance that mental distress is part of the human condition and is a normal response to adverse events and circumstances. Appropriate care and support should be the right for all people suffering from mental distress.
- Long term psychological treatments should be provided freely to all who need them and talking therapies should not be restricted to short term interventions. We recognise that not everyone wants talking treatments and this should be respected.
- The person experiencing mental distress should decide their care and always have their wishes respected.
- There should be a recognition that the use of alcohol and drugs are a form of self medication for many in mental distress. Drugs should therefore be decriminalised.
14.Access to detox and drug rehab programmes should be available to everyone.
15.We demand recognition that many social values that are common place, such as competition being intrinsic to human relationships, are erroneous and cause harm to people’s mental health.
- Bereavement counselling should be made available for all children who lose a parent or supporting person.
Financial Needs – Individual and Other Support
- We demand recognition that the WCA and PIP assessment processes are detrimental to people’s mental health and should be scrapped. The money saved by not paying Private Companies to carry out these assessments should be re-invested into better services.
- We demand guaranteed financial security and appropriate housing for everyone experiencing mental distress.
- No aspect of the social security system should cause distress or deterioration in a claimant’s mental health condition.
- Funding should be provided for Crisis Care to be made available for help and support 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
- Funding should be made available for the setting up of Crisis Houses as safe spaces. Access to these should be every person’s right and should include ‘sitters’ who will be there to support people throughout these times.
- We want hospital beds to be replaced with beds in settings similar to domestic environments.
- More provision of services for children and young adults. 1 in 10 children are being denied mental health service support which is having a huge impact on the family and schools.
- Concessionary travel passes should be made available to all people living with mental distress to enable independence in the community and to attend appointments with health care professionals, thus aiding mental wellbeing.
- We want special support centres for young men who are suicidal and a paradigm shift away from the “norms” which are set as ideals of masculinity and may contribute to the high rate of suicide in young men.
26.Funding should be made available for research into mental health care that is based on a Social Model of mental distress; such funding should at least equal the current amount of money available for pharmaceutical research.
27.We demand the provision of special support for people with mental distress to ensure their children remain with them as a family.
- We demand a holistic approach to care – where a person has both a physical and a mental health problem, such impairments should be treated equally with respect and with dignity and with full understanding that a physical impairment can impact on a mental health impairment and vice versa.
- We want specialist support to be made available for ALL armed forces veterans who experience mental distress and for housing to be made available to them.
- We deplore the underfunding of mental health services in the NHS and the current practice of discharging people with mental health problems from secondary care into primary care where their needs cannot be met. These services should be properly funded.
- Any crime against someone with a mental health condition should be treated as a hate crime.
- We want an ongoing campaign to end all bullying in schools and work places and within families and general society where such bullying is linked to mental distress.
- Action should be taken to end the ongoing discrimination against LGBT people as such discrimination can lead to mental distress.
Further Investigations Needed
- We demand a full investigation into the effects of long term use of psychiatric medications and demand that mental health professionals treat reports of side effects of medication seriously.
- We want a full investigation into the appropriateness of the continuous use of medication as the main form of treatment for people in mental distress.
- We demand a full public inquiry into the impact on people in mental distress of being detained in Prison Environments.
- We want a full investigation into why so many people from BME communities are being diagnosed with a mental health condition.
- We want an investigation into the harmful effects of E.C.T.
- We demand an inquiry into the success or otherwise of the use of personal budgets for day care provision for people living with mental health problems.
- We demand a full public inquiry into the significantly shortened life expectancy of people with mental health conditions and a full report produced with recommendations which should be implemented.
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
Campaign against introduction of psychological therapies into Job Centres
MARCH ON STREATHAM JOB CENTRE – FRIDAY 26TH JUNE, 1.30 pm
MEETING POINT: STREATHAM MEMORIAL GARDENS, STREATHAM HIGH ROAD/ STREATHAM COMMON NORTH, LONDON SW16
STREATHAM JOB CENTRE PLUS: CROWN HOUSE, STATION APPROACH, LONDON SW16 6HW
* A pilot project to bring CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) into Job Centres starts at Streatham Job Centre Plus in June 2015.
* In the same month, Lambeth “Living Well Hub” for Community Mental Health Services is due to open in the same building.
*Mental Health Resistance Network is unhappy with these developments which are part of the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda.
*Mental Health Resistance Network has called a demonstration which will march on Streatham Job Centre on Friday 26th June.
*Mental Health Resistance Network is circulating an open letter to relevant individuals, charities and professional organisations stating our position and asking them to join us in our condemnation for these developments.
The text of the open letter is as follows:
Mental Health Resistance Network is organising a demonstration to take place at Streatham Job Centre Plus on Friday 26th June 2015, protesting against the opening there of Lambeth’s principal community mental health centre (“Living Well Network Hub”) the following Monday.
Streatham Job Centre also, from June 2015, hosts the first pilot of the DWP’s scheme to provide psychological therapies – specifically Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – at Job Centres for people suspected of having mental health problems. This is the first of ten pilot schemes in advance of a national project planned to begin in January 2016.
We are calling on you/ your organisation to state your position on these issues, and we hope join us in our condemnation of these developments.
As mental health service users, we are extremely unhappy with these developments. We deplore the government’s brutal “back to work” agenda, which is a front for cutting disabled welfare benefits for the most vulnerable. Mental health service users are understandably terrified of Job Centres and the threat of losing their benefits through Sanctions, or degrading and unfit-for-purpose Work Capability Assessments. With the main point of access to Community Mental Health services in Lambeth on the 3rd floor of a Job Centre, many of us will feel too frightened to ask for the help and services we need, and lose contact with services altogether.
Mental health service users are already reporting higher levels of fear, anxiety and anguish as a result of the increasingly difficult welfare benefits system, which is linked to an increasing rate of suicides. This situation will be exacerbated by the new developments.
We should not be put under pressure to look for work unless we feel capable. The competitive, profit-driven and exploitative nature of the modern workplace is not suitable for people whose mental health is fragile. But the location of the Network Hub at Streatham Job Centre put us under such pressure if we try to use mental health services.
Experts agree that CBT does not work for everyone; that psychological therapies are ineffective if they are forced on people; and that they need to take place in safe, unthreatening environments. We do not think making people have CBT at Job Centres will make anyone magically “fit for work.” We are concerned that people will be Sanctioned (i.e. have their benefits stopped) if they do not co-operate with this “therapy” either out of principle or because they are not well enough. “BACK TO WORK THERAPY” IS NO THERAPY AT ALL!
Additionally, we are concerned that this amounts to an extension of the coercive powers of the 1983 Mental Health Act amended 2007. Whereas at present people can only be forced into “treatment” under in-patient Sections of this Act or by Community Treatment Orders, making welfare benefits and by extension housing conditional on agreeing to psychological treatment broadens the principle of compulsion.
We condemn the involvement of IAPTS in this attempt to make people undergo “therapy” at Job Centres, which we believe goes against professional ethics. We are also unhappy that psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers and other mental health professionals are also expected to work at Streatham Job Centre, again compromising their professional ethics, and we call on individual staff and collective agencies representing them to publicly oppose this development.
For more information contact:
Different forms of Government Propaganda began and ended the year. We saw delays, backlogs, more cuts, more campaigns and direct actions. We reproduce some of the DPAC actions, research and call outs from 2014. Highlights included the Westminster Abbey Occupation against the closure of ILF as part of the #saveilf campaign, lowlights included the court case that arrived at the decision that Penning had taken appropriate process into account by saying that ILF users could be entitled to less under local authorities. Chaos with the DWP, PIP, ESA was compounded by misinformation, dodgy stats , backlogs and increasing sanctions. The brilliant Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts achieved the abolition of ‘care’ charges by their local authority-proving it can be done. Esther McVey was awarded Scrooge of the year. DPAC was threatened with legal action for our support of the Anthony Kletzander campaign -in response we increased the campaign, and the relationship in the propaganda against disabled people between the DWP and the Mail was finally exposed
News that the UNCRPD Committee had initiated its first ever inquiry into grave and systematic violations of the UN Convention against the UK identified how far our disability rights and independent living had been eroded by the Coalition-although the Mail didnt seem to like it much
Our constant court cases against the DWP continued, and we have more lined up for this year too- yes, we could be talking to you Motability!
We look forward to 2015 and a change in the regime that has seen the poor grow poorer, while the richest grew richer. A year in which we launch Who2vote4? and the DPAC revenge tour. We will continue to fight for #saveilf with an event on 6th Jan at the House of Commons and an online twitter event.
Here’s to a better year in 2015 with thanks to all our members and supporters. Keep up with news in 2015 by subscribing to posts through our website www.dpac.uk.net or follow us on twitter @Dis_ppl_protest
Some selected actions of DPAC in 2014
January saw the posting of a call for those who were waiting for PIP due to backlogs. This post has received over 40,000 views,shares and many comments. The situation has now been described as a backlog that , at the current rate , could take 42 years to clear. For those claiming ‘reforms’ are working have a look to see that they are not: https://dpac.uk.net/2014/01/have-you-waited-months-for-a-pip-assessment/ and let’s not forget the backlog in ESA either-in short complete chaos for disabled people.
In ‘Austerity Street: the real impacts’ we reproduced some of the stories we had received from those left without cash and homes via sanctions, delays and backlogs. This was in response to Love Production’s poverty porn , Benefits Street, part of the media’s continued demonization regime -the campaign incorporated a twitter fest against the format of biased programming. We supported our partners in Canada Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (SCAP) and Ontario Coalition Aginst Poverty (OCAP). In an international campaign against increasing homelessness. Austerity is global. We supported Boycott workfare against CAPITA cashing in on poverty.
Through the excellent work of Nick Dilworth we exposed more BBC media double dealing and the fact that they weren’t publicizing the 88% success rates of those claiming ESA and asked ‘Are the DWP failing apart at every level? When a freedom of information response incorrectly claimed that PIP was subjected to sanctions. In another they claimed that the cap would be cut for those without children, both were incorrect. With Inclusion London we campaigned against the Care Act’s exclusion of ‘independent living’ and DPAC also joined Hands off London Transport against ticket office closures, as well as regional Rail protests
February We joined the many direct actions against the removal of legal aid. Raquel Rolnik ‘s report on the bedroom tax is published and recommends immediate suspension of the bedroom tax. The Government’s response is to accuse her of giving sacrifices to Marx and telling her to ‘sort out her own country’. We republish the excellent ‘Why the rise of UKIP is dangerous for disabled people’ and receive the usual abuse from Kippers proving the point. DPAC, Black Triangle and Wow publish a joint statement on Atos exit strategy , calling again for an end to the WCA. We expose how 9 out of 10 sanctions are dismissed when challenged
March More direct actions against proposed cuts in legal aid for judicial review.We publish ‘Punching Holes in Austerity’ an insightful analysis of DPAC and direct actions. DPAC supports #stopchanges2A2W against punitive changes in Access to Work. We publish an update on Anthony Kletzander and questions for HSE in Ireland with ENIL , a story of human rights abuse in Dublin, Ireland, a stand that we would later find invoked a threat of legal action against one of our co-founders.
DPAC joins protests against DWP and ATOS country wide. Protests that were reminiscent of the very first DPAC protests against Atos carried out by DPAC from 2011 onwards, culminating in the 2012 DPAC Atos games that saw Atos tarnished forever. DPAC leads direct actions and online protests against the despised disability Con-fident, leading to the highest number of tweets and retweets ever, exposing the scheme as no more than a Government gloss while they were cutting access to work and removing the means for disabled people to work. We produce a critical analysis of Pennings impact assessment regarding ILF. We reproduce the piece by John Pring asking ‘Where was your MP during the Wow Debate’
April The brilliant Ellen Clifford travels to Canada to embark on a successful speaking tour with raise the rates. We hold a well attended DPAC Grassroots Fightback conference. DPAC, Inclusion London, Equal Lives and the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People promote the #saveilf postcard campaign. Top Corrie stars support the postcard campaign to #saveilf. DPAC supports Lifeworks and protests against cuts to mental health support. DPAC gives its response to Labour on reform of WCA
May DPAC releases its research documents for download. DPAC and ILF users block the DWP in protest. We learn that disabled students allowances are now under threat of cuts. DPAC publishes a powerful piece by one of our readers that sums up many peoples’ feelings: ‘I’ll never forgive or forget what this Government has done to me and thousands of others‘. We pay homage to the strength of Quiet Riot, celebrate the #dpactour and the success of the Freedom Riders.
June The Independent Living Fund’s Birthday protest happens in June with lots of action outside the DWP. We see JSA benefit sanctions sky rocket under the coalition Government. More actions happen to fight the bedroom tax.
We publish a piece by Angela 28 on how ‘care’ support has been threatened and why that threatens independent living and rights– legal representation was found for many people, but we were aware that this was happening to many more people through emails to dpac mail. Unlike some organisations we attempt to challenge these instances and reject the rhetoric that there is more ‘choice and control’ for disabled people.
At the end of June DPAC with UKUNCUT, and Occupy carry out a daring occupation of Westminster Abbey , after months of planning to highlight the #saveilf campaign. There were 3 police to every protester , and while we had no support from the dear old church , messages of support and publicity poured in
July We publish a joint statement in response to the Work and Pensions Committee on the WCA from DPAC, Black Triangle, the Mental Health Resistance Network, Pats petition, Wow and New Approach in which we again say the WCA should be scrapped.
An ILF user makes a plea to Disability Rights UK (DRUK) on ILF after he was denied the right to speak at their independent living conference. DRUK did not feel the need to offer any response. In Disability Rights UK : independent Living or new visions in Neo-Liberalism we ask why the DRUK ‘independent living ‘ conference was sponsored by an organisation running institutions, segregated schooling and ‘hospitals for those with mental health issues. We also launched a highly successful twitter campaign asking the same questions, again DRUK did not feel they owed disabled people any response to this outrage.
DPAC highlights more chaos at the DWP on appeals and sanctions. John McDonnell launches an Early Day Motion to #saveilf. Positive updates and actions on the WCA court case regarding mental health claimants by the Mental Health Resistance Network. We ask that people write to IDS to raise issues happening regarding mental health.
August Rethink calls people with mental health issues a ‘disease burden’ Mental Health Resistance Network respond to the outrage. We call for a stop to discrimination for those transferring from DLA to PIP who do not get backdated payments. DPAC continues to support anti-fracking protests with Reclaim the power.
We republish the excellent Nick Dilworth’s piece on how the media are ignoring what’s happening to disabled people https://dpac.uk.net/2014/08/a-national-scandal-4-million-people-face-chaos-in-this-country-and-are-ignored-by-the-media/
ILF user John Kelly speaks to BBC on the impacts of the potential loss of ILF. We ask what happens when ILF funds are not ring fenced to local authorities
September sees a national day of Protest against sanctions, bedroom tax and benefit caps.
The fantastic Brian Hilton produces a set of pics for party conference season on #saveilf. DPAC crash the Tory Party Conference via a successful tweet attack and in person. We do the same to Labour.
We publish The Great Farago: UKIP sleight of hand and receive more abuse from Kippers, Richard Howitt Labour MEP quotes the piece and receives even more abuse.
The first inkling that the DWP are wrongly asking those in the ESA support group to attend work focused interviews comes to our notice.
DPAC is threatened with legal action for supporting Anthony Kletzander and publicising the abuse of his human rights in Ireland, our response is to publish an interview with Anthony’s parents on the injustice Anthony and his family have endured.
October We reblog the excellent Johnny Void piece on the boss of Maximus https://dpac.uk.net/2014/10/meet-richard-a-montoni-the-five-million-dollar-maximus-boss-here-to-fleece-the-uks-benefits-system/.
We publish an open letter to Freud who declared that disabled people can work for less than minimum wage. DPAC and Occupy pay another visit to the DWP Caxton House building for ‘Freud must go!’ protest
In Secrets and Lies :maximus the new leader of the inhumans we ask why Disability Rights UK have agreed to a) be part of the Maximus testing process on the WCA and b) why they’ve teamed up with Unum and other insurance companies to develop a TV program showing how much better off disabled people will be if they take out private insurance- with user-led disability organisations like these we dont need enemies.
ILF users return to court to challenge the DWP on ILF. A successful #saveilf vigil happens with road blocks, many messages of support and some great pics.
Welfare assistance fund is next under threat of closure. Campaign to save it is launched.
One of our favourite reports of the year : IDS is chased around a building to drown out shouts of murderer at Ipswich- congratulations to the local dpac group for that one!
We ask people to come forward to launch a legal challenge on cuts to the disabled student allowance
£86 million goes missing from Pudsley’s children in need account BBC to blame for mislaying -complainants are actually advised to write to Pudsley via his BBC email
DWP increase attacks on disabled benefit recipients with claims they can harress them off benefits. We put out an urgent call-out https://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/urgent-people-awaiting-wca-assessments-particularly-in-birmingham-please-read/
Work Providers A4E are exposed again in relation to ESA and workfare. The Rev Paul Nicolson wins in court against council tax. Class War’s continuing protests against ‘poor doors’ get to the authorities who make arrests- and Boris is burnt. Meanwhile DPAC discovers Motability’s sneaky backdoor changes to individuals needing to be in work to qualify for support https://dpac.uk.net/2014/11/motability-and-the-deserving-and-undeserving-charity-not-rights/
DPAC launches an Open letter to Ed, Kate and Rachel on ILF– we’re still waiting for a response
Hammersmith and Fulham abolish home ‘care’ charges, showing it can be done. Congratulations for a great campaign to the excellent Kevin Caulfield and Debbie Domb and all at Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts
Esther McVey is named scrooge of the year, which we though was a little too kind to the creature
Unsurprisingly the Work and Pensions report slammed the Government ‘mismanagament of Access to Work – the stop the changes to Access to Work campaign continues.
Questions are asked on the Government costs in fighting against disabled peoples’equality
The link between the DWP and the Mail propaganda is finally nailed and exposed as the DWP is caught out https://dpac.uk.net/2014/12/dwp-caught-giving-disability-propaganda-to-daily-mail/
Dear Mr Winstanley,
Re: Your apology over the use of the term “disease burden” quoted below
Rethink wrote: In response to concerns over the use of the phrase ‘disease burden’, Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness said: “We sincerely apologise if any offence was caused by our use of the phrase ‘disease burden’ in our recent email to our supporters.
“Health organisations campaigning on a wide range of issues have been using this term for many years. It is widely accepted by health professionals and policy makers as the correct term for quantifying the national impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality or morbidity.
“It is in this spirit which we use the phrase to highlight this nationally important issue. It is in no way intended to imply that individuals affected by mental illness, or other diseases or disabilities are a burden.”
We are fully conversant with the use of the term “disease burden” being used in the context that you outline above. To the small number of people who have asked us why we were offended, we have made the following response:
“It is highly complex but I think there are three main arguments. The first point is that this mail out was sent to people who were not familiar with this term as a technical term, it was sent to everyday people, including a lot of disabled people. Rethink should be capable of thinking ahead and asking how this term would be understood by the random people they were sending the mailing to.
“Secondly, I think there is an acceptance that technical language can never direct, even at an unconscious level, how people, including the technicians who use it, perceive an issue. But this is questionable. In the same vein, technical language can reflect how something is viewed at an emotional or political level but be embedded within technical terms that cannot be challenged, just as you are questioning whether a technical term should be challenged. The concerns around technical language being “loaded” would require a whole book to be written to tease out all of the issues. It may seem radical to even question the use of language that is deemed to be technical or academic but there are good arguments for doing so, however these are too complex to go into here.
“There is a final point that relates to the medical model of mental distress which questions whether what is called “mental illness” is even “illness” (or “disease”) at all. For several decades there has been a question mark over whether mental distress is an illness or a human response to unbearable circumstances. This is why many survivors prefer the term “mental distress”. This non medical model of mental distress, a social model, has been argued for many years by survivors yet Rethink, along with the other mental health charities, still refuse to even consider it. Hence we have legions of people who are not helped by drugs yet who live with dreadful side effects from them. However, the pharmaceutical companies are too powerful for us ever to be able to move away from the medical model of mental distress. Having said all of this, I think for the purposes of this complaint, the first objection is more than enough.”
I would also like to add that many people have contacted us to say they were offended and I am attaching a few comments made in response to your apology:
“Rethink seem to think they’ve offered an apology – I don’t agree, plus this is not on their home page, but needs to be searched for”
“Winstanley has also clearly missed the point because he refers to “mental illness or other diseases” so reaffirming his belief that mental distress is a disease.”
“…I’m thinking there must be a long list of former technical terms that have been abandoned exactly because they were offensive, I’m not an expert in this but in my youth words like mad, handicapped, mongol, manic depressive, and more were in common use as the correct labels for people, so I don’t think calling it an accepted technical term can be considered a defence.”
So long as mental health charities continue to capitulate to the damaging ideas that people living with mental distress are fighting against, and refuse to participate in the debates that occupy us, your organisations will remain irrelevant to any meaningful progress that will eventually be made by those of us you are meant to be championing. It is precisely because you pose no threat to the status quo that you have, to some extent, the ear of government, however, as always, when we do start to impact on thinking around these important issues, you will jump on the bandwagon and claim all of the credit for our hard work for yourselves.
Denise McKenna, Co-founder, MHRN
Co signed by DPAC Steering Group
Mental Health Resistance Network are on Facebook here
Read Denise McKenna’s co founder of Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) response to Rethink’s mail out that termed people with mental health issues as a ‘disease burden’!
DPAC fully support our good friends Denise and MHRN in urging Rethink to issue an immediate apology for using this offensive term.
If you want to email Rethink’s CEO too his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr Winstanley,
Members of the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and our friends at Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were included in your mail-out below. We were shocked and bewildered that Rethink thought it acceptable to use the term “disease burden” in relation to mental health in a bulk mail-out. In this context it is brutal language and has caused offence to those of us who live with mental distress and to other members of the disability movement who have received your mailing.
“Disease burden” is a specialist piece of jargon used in disease informatics but, even when used in this context, disabled people do not accept that it is neutral. No language is neutral and this term should never have been used in a mail-out to random disabled people. You are no doubt aware that the words “disease” and, above all, “burden” are highly toxic to disabled people and those living with mental distress. It was crass to send this out willy nilly. Is there no sensitivity at Rethink?
We urge you to issue an immediate apology to all of the people who received this mailing and rightly experienced it as offensive and hurtful.