Aug 232014
 

 

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 mark.winstanley@rethink.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.

 

Yours sincerely,

Denise McKenna

Co-founder, MHRN

Manifesto for Better Mental Health

Dear

Today we’re launching A Manifesto for Better Mental Health which sets out practical changes that a future Government must make in order to ensure our mental and physical health are valued equally. We’ve joined forces with our colleagues across mental health to agree on five key areas we are calling on all political parties to commit to if they are elected in 2015.

Mental health accounts for 23% of the disease burden, but it gets just 13% of the NHS budget and funding has been cut even further for the last three years.

This is not acceptable. The next Government must seriously tackle this issue.

That’s why we need YOU. You can help us secure change by:

Send a card to your MP with the Manifesto’s key priorities for action

1. Fair funding for mental health
2. Give children a good start in life
3. Improve physical health care for people with mental health problems
4. Improve the lives of people with mental health problems
5. Better access to mental health services

Share our asks on social media and raise awareness

Our Manifesto for Better Mental Health’  has been written with the Centre for Mental Health, Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Network, Mind and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Together we intend to turn this tide. Our time has come.

Thanks for your continued help and support,

Mark Winstanley
Chief Executive

 

Jan 182014
 

 

Sanity in an era of rabid capitalism?

 

Date: Friday 7 February, 2014

 

Time: 6.30 doors open for 7pm start

 

A F.E.E.L. (Friends of East End Loonies) occasional event todiscuss abuses within the psychiatric system, what a humane asylum would be like and the wide range of alternatives.

 

SPEAKERS

 

 

Denise McKenna, Mental Health Resistance Network

 

 

Towards a social model of mental distress

 

 

A Local Trade Union activist

 

 

The impact of local authority & NHS cuts on

 

mental health services

 

 

Questions/comments from the floor

 

 

Venue:Kingsley Hall, corner Powis and Bruce Roads, E3 3HJ,

 

(Nearest tube stations: Bow Church and Bromley-By-Bow)

 

 

There will be an interval with music, poetry and refreshments.No entrance fee but donations will be welcome to cover costs.

 

FEEL is a democratic anarchic group in which people are encouraged to share what they need to say and to contribute what they can. It meets the 3rd Monday of the month at 6.30 pm at the LARC centre, 62 Fieldgate St E1 1ES. For more information call:

 

David: 020 7790 0269 or Myra on 020 7780 9038 email: f.e.e.l.campaign@googlemail.com

 

 

Humane Therapy not Drug Tyranny

 

 

 

Joanna Moncrieff says in her book, The Myth of the Chemical Cure, “My thesis in this book is that the disease-centred model of drug action has been adopted, and recently widely publicised, not because the evidence for it is compelling, but because it helped promote the interests of certain powerful social groups, namely the psychiatric profession, the pharmaceutical industry and the modern state.” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009 London)

 

 

 

We need a liberating movement to transform hospitals and Mental Health Units into humane asylums and to demand the full range of complementary and natural therapies including arts therapies (which a study has indicated is more effective than drug therapy) and talking therapy, and an end to pharmaco-custodial control.

 

 

 

F.E.E.L. – Friends of East End Loonies

 

Believe in empowering all people in the mental health system

 

Ending the chemical cosh

 

Supporting community mental health services

 

Encouraging more holistic therapies

 

HUMANE THERAPY – NOT DRUG TYRANNY

 

 

 

Dec 042013
 

The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) who instigated the case against the WCA celebrate another  victory. MHRN a grassroots group were later joined by the charities, but without MHRN the case would not have been brought. Full press release below…

Government appeal against Work Capability Assessment discrimination ruling is rejected

 

The Court of Appeal today (4 December 2013) rejected the Government’s appeal against a landmark ruling by the Upper Tribunal that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against people with mental health problems.

 

During a four day hearing in January 2013, the Upper Tribunal heard evidence from the 2 disabled claimants, from mental health charities, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the National Autistic Society, as well as from the Government about the operation of the Work Capability Assessment[1], and the experience of people with mental health problems going through the process. In May 2013, having weighed the evidence, the tribunal concluded[2] that the process substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems[3]. This was for two main reasons: first because the application process and the face to face interview can be particularly distressing and confusing for those with mental health problems; and second because of the great difficulty that many with mental health problems have in explaining their condition, which increases the risk that the benefit will be wrongly refused.

 

To remedy this disadvantage, the claimants, supported by the mental health charities and by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, argued that where ESA applicants have mental health problems, the DWP should consider obtaining medical evidence from the claimant’s doctor or psychiatric team at every stage of the process, and if a decision was taken by Atos or the DWP not to ask for medical evidence, this would have to be justified at each stage. This approach followed a recommendation made in November 2012 by Professor Malcolm Harrington, an independent reviewer of the process appointed by the Government.

 

The Government refused to implement this adjustment because it argued that the system did not discriminate against people with mental health problems. As stated above, the tribunal disagreed. It ruled that the adjustment to the process recommended by Professor Harrington might be a reasonable response to the “substantial disadvantage” it had found, and urged the Government to carry out a trial to see if obtaining further medical evidence earlier in the process would make the process better for people with mental health problems. Once the new process was trialled, the tribunal asked the Government to return to court for a hearing about whether – in light of the trial – the adjustment was reasonably necessary.

 

Instead of accepting the tribunal’s findings, and conducting an urgent trial, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeal against the tribunal’s finding of “substantial disadvantage”. It also argued that the two claimants did not have the right to bring the case because they themselves had not been adversely affected. Today the Court of Appeal rejected the Government’s arguments on both these points. In giving the main judgment of the court, Lord Justice Elias stated that:

 

“the Tribunal identified various ways in which [Further Medical Evidence] would assist [people] with a range of mental disabilities, and in my judgment there was sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that [mental health patients] were placed, as a group, at more than a trivial disadvantage”.

 

The claimants solicitor, Ravi Low-Beer of the Public Law Project, stated:

 

“It is regrettable that the Government chose to appeal against the tribunal’s finding that people with mental health problems are disadvantaged by the current system, rather than take the steps necessary to improve it. Now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the tribunal’s finding, we sincerely hope that the Government will take immediate steps to improve the system. Disabled people, charities and many others are only asking the Government to implement the recommendation of the independent expert the Government itself appointed. This has been delayed since May 2013 while the Government appealed. It should not be delayed further.”

 

For further information contact Ravi Low-Beer on r.lowbeer@publiclawproject.org.uk or 020 7843 1264.



[1] The WCA is a face to face interview conducted by healthcare professionals employed by a private company, Atos Healthcare to assess eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance. Approximately 28,000 ESA claims (some 11,000 from existing Incapacity Benefit claimants, and some 17,000 from new ESA claimants) are made each week, around 40% of them by applicants who suffer from mental health problems. The speed and quality of the Work Capability Assessment interviews and the decisions resulting from them have been consistently criticised by disabled people.

May 222013
 

Three judges today confirmed what DPAC and other campaigners have been saying since 2010– the benefits test used to decide whether people are fit for work, actively discriminates against disabled people and those with mental health issues

 Mental health Resistance network (MHRN) have won the judicial review case against the DWP on the clear inadequacy of the Work Capability Assessments. They supported two users who took a case against the DWP for the harm these tests do to those with mental health issues. The WCA has been severely criticised since the Condems took over the reins from the New Labour WCA inception, making the tests more and more difficult and more and more humiliating for all concerned.

 Last week Dr Greg Wood resigned claiming the tests were biased, there have been a number of high profile resignations from nurses resigning and claiming that not only were the tests unfair they were degrading. This is a subject disabled people know all too well, from the millions lavished on Atos for tests and the millions for appeals.

 The  judicial review focussed on specific issues for those with mental health issues – that of gathering supporting evidence. Under the current system, individuals are responsible for gathering their own medical evidence and sending it to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If anyone fails to do this, it simply won’t be looked at, and in many cases if you do do this your papers will be brushed aside (see DPACs survey responses on the WCA HERE).

Reporting the victory DPAC’s sister group,  Black Triangle Campaign wrote:

“The judgment that the DWP is in breach of the Equality Act is a huge victory for everyone affected by severe mental illness, but it’s sad that it took a court case to force the DWP to take action”.

DPAC wants to congratulate the two people that took the case, MHRN and all others that supported this. We hope this is another step towards outlawing these tests and stopping them for the damage they are causing all disabled people as called for by the BMA and the RCN.

We note that the big Disability charities have , as usual, chosen to take the credit for this success and we say again that this success is due to MHRN a small group that chose to do something. It is due to the two people that took the case and the solicitors involved. This case was not initiated by any of the big disability charities-despite them joining in later to save face.

 The charities sat back and did nothing, but they are fast to take the credit for something that they didn’t even contribute too. We hope that the success of the MHRN actions leads to an end to this inhuman process for all and we congratulate them for their tenacity and their actions in getting someone done- to the charities we say: we know the difference between the real heroes and those that try to bask in reflected glory-if you had made the move that MHRN had or acted more vigorously we might applaud you, as it is we are, once more unimpressed by your actions.

 see also:

https://dpac.uk.net/2013/05/esa-regulations-25-and-31-campaign-black-triangle-to-meet-with-scottish-parliament-welfare-reform-committee-chief-this-thursday/

https://dpac.uk.net/2013/05/where-are-the-mental-function-champions-at-atos-and-other-atos-type-things/

https://dpac.uk.net/2013/01/dpac-press-release-wca-descriptors-fail-dwp-fails-atos-fails/

https://dpac.uk.net/2012/10/joint-statement-on-work-capability-assessment-wca-by-dpac-and-black-triangle/

https://dpac.uk.net/2012/11/dpac-survey-responses-on-wca-what-harrington-didnt-ask/

 

 

 

 

May 192012
 

An application has been made by members of the Mental Health Resistance Network for permission to have a Judicial Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and a judge has decided that there should be a hearing to decide whether to grant us the Judicial Review.

The hearing will happen at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand in London on Friday 29th June. We won’t know until the day before what time it will be heard. 

With thanks to MHRN for letting us publicise this. It is MHRN who have pushed this through, not any big charity -remember most activism is coming from grassroots groups-rather than well funded charities who like to try to claim the credit.

Lets support MHRN as much as we can with this great achievement on 29th June-hopefully the first of many challenges to the corrupt WCA…..

 

 

Aug 132011
 

Don’t Get Mad Get Political!

The new Mental Health Resistance Network is hosting a half day meet for us to get more organized.

The Public Law Project has been supporting the Network in trying to get a Judicial Review of the Work Capability Assessment which is designed to get sick and distressed people off benefits.

The Network’s solicitor, Ravi Low-Beer, will be speaking about Judicial Reviews.

Friday 19th August 2011 from 12.00pm to 4.00pm

at Goldsmiths Student Union(Student Union Bar)Goldsmiths, University of London,

Dixon RoadLondon SE14 6NW

(Near New Cross Gate and New Cross Rail stations)

All Survivors, Disabled People and Allies welcome on:

A Half Day conference

Facing enormous cuts to benefits and services, we mental health Survivors are stressed out bigtime.

We find ourselves demonized by the right wing press (again) and the ConDem government. How stupid and cruel politicians of all parties are being beggars belief. Or do they believe we should all be beggars?

The Mental Health Resistance Network invites you to…
12.00 – 12.30 Tea and Coffee (50p donation appreciated)

12.30Introduction by Denise McKenna History –

What we have been involved in –

Where to now by Stefano Peria

12.45 Judicial Review of a the Government policy on changes to benefits, by Ravi Low-Beer (of the Public Law Project).

Questions.

1.45-2.00pm – Refreshment Break

2.00-3.00 Workshops. Organizing and going to Demos and Direct Action. Campaigning and Lobbying. A new Arts Project themed How We Feel About the Cuts? Networking and Personal Support.

3.15-3.45 – Feedback4.00pm – Close

join the email list at https://lists.aktivix.org/mailman/listinfo/mentalhealthresistanceweb

http://mentalhealthresistance.org

Apr 192011
 

MAD PRIDE and the Mental Health Resistance presents
A FEAST OF FOOLS

A FUND RAISER FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK’s CAMPAIGN AGAINST WELFARE BENEFIT CUTS

SATURDAY 23rd APRIL
8PM – LATE
ADMISSION £5 / £2 concessions

The Amersham Arms – New Cross

The AMERSHAM ARMS is located opposite NEW X BR station, where the East London Line stops and is within walking distance from NEW X GATE BR station, all buses to New X will get you there. It is a short bus ride from Deptford Bridge DLR station.

ARTISTS APPEARING

DAVID AMERY – long established performance poet / performance artist – appeared at numerous venues around London and beyond – also known for running events in his own right.

DAVID KESSEL – another performance poet with a long established reputation – an original ‘survivor’ poet – much loved and much respected.

DAVID STUDDERT – Australian singer songwriter ‘one of the best going around’ – according to the web site of the famous ‘12 Bar Club’ – where he also ran his ‘Backfire Cool’ nights – also known for running other events around various venues in London and playing at innumerable gigs about town.

FRAN LOCK – performance poet – building a reputation – her first publication is due out in may – published by ‘Little Episodes’ an organisation that seeks to promote the therapeutic value of the arts and seeks to de stigmatise depression and addiction issues, that she is involved with.

L.A.SALAMI – a singer songwriter of quality and distinction – here accompanied with his full band

DANGEROUS T – off the wall comic performer, well known around the London small gig scene.

PARADISE 9 – Psychedelic, space rock / punk band fronted by Greg McKellar – who is involved with musical and alternative cultural luminaries Nik Turner and Mick Farren and featuring original ‘Alternative TV’ founder member Tyrone Thomas

RICHARD ALLEN – quick fire comic poet with a strong established reputation with appearances at well known comedy venues and the theatre stage at Glastonbury –

THE STRANGE AGENCY – another psychedelic prog metal punk outfit, all the way from the wilds of west Wales – fronted by former local personality – well known for fronting innumerable SE London based bands – the appropriately known Mr Craig High – who appeared onstage at the first BONKERSFEST in 2006.

JAZZMAN JOHN & FRIENDS – Lewisham based ‘beat’ poet – well known for his many appearances at numerous venues – there is hardly a night goes by when the Jazzman is out gigging – also known for running his own excellent events, including his current ‘Friday Lip’ late night sessions at the nearby ‘Let’s All Hang Together’ shop and community space set up by the Art Saves Lives organisation – Here John is accompanied by some cool jazz muso’s for an improvised set to bring the night to it’s cool conclusion.

For more info on the event call 077 577 15035

CREATIVE ROUTES

Facebook –    http;//tinyurl.com/6155qzb

www.myspace.com/themusescafe

For more info re the MENTAL HEALTH RESISTANCE NETWORK

Contact   mentalhealthresistancenetwork@gmail.com

MAD PRIDE – 07542459321

www.madpride.org.uk

For more info on the acts check –

PARADISE 9

http://paradise.9.soundawesome.com

www.paradise9.net

THE STRANGE AGENCY

L.A.SALAMI

www.myspace.com/lasalami

http://www.facebook.com/L.A.Salami

For info on the venue check

www.amersham.arms.co.uk

www.myspace.com/amershamarms

Apr 182011
 
"Atos don't give a toss" placard

"Atos don't give a toss"

On the last Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts protests, actions and demonstrations were organised in Dundee, Edinburgh, Westminster, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Newcastle, Brighton, Glasgow, Poole, Burnley, Islington, Kensington, Cardiff, Poole and Truro.  This time we’ve got all week!

Disability activists, claimant groups and anti-cuts campaigners have called a week of action against poverty pimps Atos Origin beginning on Monday 9th May with a picnic and party in Triton Square*, home of their head office, at 2pm.

Atos Origin have just begun a £300 million contract by the Con-dem Government to carry out ‘work capability assessments’ on all of those claiming Incapacity Benefit.

It is claimed assessments are to test what people can do rather than what they can’t. The real purpose is to strip benefits from as many people as possible.

This testing system has already led to people with terminal illnesses and severe medical conditions being declared fit for work and having benefits cut. GP’s are ignored in favour of decisions made by Atos Origin’s computer.

Plans announced for the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance have also revealed that this intrusive testing is likely to be extended to everyone on some form of disability or health related benefit.

To date around 40% of appeals against Atos Origin’s decisions have been successful.

On the 24th January claimants from around the country demonstrated outside Atos Origins premises, with many choosing to close for the day rather than face their ‘clients’. We call on all groups around the UK to take action against these parasites who have been dubbed ‘the racial purity and euthanasia arm of the DWP’

A list of Atos Origin’s corporate offices and testing centres can be found via: http://benefitclaimantsfightback.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/national-week-of-action-against-atos-origin-begins-monday-9th-may/

If you are holding an event, protest or action in your home town please add details on the wall below to have your event added to this page and the website. Alternatively contact us at: notowelfarecuts@yahoo.co.uk

*Triton Square is on the North side of Euston Road, just over the road from Warren Street tube and less than five minutes from Euston/Euston Square or Great Portland Street tube stations.

facebook event at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=121624627914913

Supporting groups (please contact us to be added to the list)

Supported by:

o Armchair Army
o Anti-Benefit Cuts Glasgow
o Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign
o Brighton Benefits Campaign
o Cardiff’s Unemployed Daytime Disco
o Carer Watch
o Carer Watch fb page
o Crippen – Disabled Cartoonist
o Diary of a Benefit Scrounger
o Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
o Dundee Unemployed Workers
o East Lancs Right to Work
o Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP)
o Free London Listings
o Goldsmiths in Occupation
o Haringey Solidarity Group
o Ipswich Unemployed Action
o Islington Deaf and Disabled People Against Cuts (IDPAC)
o Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS)
o Islington Poverty Action
o Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
o Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts
o London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP)
o London Foodbank
o Mad Pride
o Medway Against The Cuts
o Mental Health Resistance Network
o Norfolk Community Action Group
o Nottingham Claimants’ Union
o Nuneaton Against Benefit Cuts
o Oxford Save Our Services
o Squattastic
o Tyneside Claimants Union
o Welfare Action Hackney
o Welfare Rights 4 u (UK)
o Work Programme & Flexible New Deal Scandal
o World Homeless Day