“Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression, under radical plans being drawn up by ministers,” reported Britain’s Telegraph last month. “The government is piloting ways to get more people with mental health problems into work by combining earlier treatment with employment support,” confirmed BBC News. “The Department for Work and Pensions said treatment would not be mandatory in the pilot scheme but that remained an ‘idea’ for the future.” The whole plan is a “cruel concept,” said a commentary in The Guardian today that drew more attention to the pilot program.
A government report in January said many people with mental health problems who are collecting social welfare do not get treatment, and proposed supporting “early intervention” programs for them. The UK government already has another pilot project running in which people obtaining sickness benefits are being forced to have regular visits with government-appointed health professionals.
“Where will all the mental health experts necessary for treating 260,000 [Employment and Support Allowance] claimants come from?” asked Kit Marsters in a Guardian commentary. “How qualified are they? How long will the treatment be available for? What happens when a person’s mental health does not improve at a rate that is agreeable? Will they be sanctioned? How can a person be expected to feel less anxious and less depressed when they are living with the fear of losing their benefits?”
Linking mental health treatment to job support is a cruel concept (The Guardian, August 6, 2014)
Benefit claimants who refuse treatment for depression face having handouts axed (Daily Express, July 13, 2014)
Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse treatment for depression (The Telegraph, July 12, 2014)
Mental health job support scheme piloted (BBC News, July 13, 2014)
Pilot schemes to help people on sickness benefits back to work (UK Department for Work and Pensions Press Release, November 4, 2013)
Psychological Wellbeing and Work (Rand Europe and UK Department for Work and Pensions Report. January 2014.)
“refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression”
The translation is “refuse to ingest mind and body damaging drugs for anxiety and depression”.
Am I correct ?
The evidence from the last 50 years has shown more treatment leads to more disability.
With all these new ‘treatments’ why is the number of disabled people been rising ever since ?
Here is a video I came across that explains much of this in 48 minutes.
These drugs are extremely disabling. The one thing that gets in the way of doing a days work is psychiatric medication.
I am described with all the big ‘Labels’ – I returned to normal functioning as a result of stopping psychiaric medication.
Yeah. There is nothing better for a productive day at work than say 8h straight of disabling nausea and vomiting. Or falling asleep randomly in the middle of the day.
it will be bad, “Therapy,” from a profit driven private company that does not address someone’s problems while sanctioning them if they do not turn up.
Bad pay and an insecure job market as causes will not be addressed.
Hey ho, capitalism drives you mad and then you take big pharma products with harm you then some grotty multinational gets paid government money (ie money from from the general populaition via taxation) to pressure you to go back to a grotty job that makes the rich richer and leaves you feeling even grottier
But do we assume correctly that meds will also be involved as part of the compulsory treatment?
This are the official recommendations, but I don’t know how this translates into practice.
the other option, not anti-depressants, is, “therapy,” or coaching, from a badly paid worker for a very short time who hardly knows you. This will be provided by a private company who get vasts amount of money from general taxation.
Do not treat the causes, create well paid contracts administered by large companies and pay the workers badly.
What ever the solution it would be like the government giving money to Macdonalds to solve the problem of urban malnutrition. Great for the share holders and bad for everyone else
Well, if there is a choice, I guess it is better to chose a clueless therapist vs. being forced to take meds. The danger is if the worker isn’t knowledgeable about how bogus all of this is, he/she will get worse from the effects of dealing with a horse-bleep therapist.
E. Silly, thanks for the link. But it still didn’t seem to clarify the issue of whether meds will be forced or not.
I don’t think that there is big interest in directly forcing people to take SSRI or other psychiatric drugs in these cases. The health professionals will convince enough people to take the tablets voluntarily, especially if you need to see them regularly. I also can imagine that at some point the health professional must report if the patients refuses treatment.
“Where will all the mental health experts necessary for treating 260,000 [Employment and Support Allowance] claimants come from?”
You think they will offer all these people talk therapy?
Already sorted here in Australia B. They are simply changing the definition of a psychiatrist in the Act.
No psychiatric training necessary. Give doctors the powers of a psychiatrist and let them put people on CTOs. Hey presto, we got a whole bunch of parking inspectors handing out tickets.
John, I was genuinely unemployable when I consumed psychiatric drugs – no employer in his right mind would have employed me.
Same for me. The side effects were making it impossible to do anything, let alone work.
That will work out fabulously. Pushing people into SSRI dependance will increase the recovery rates tremendously [sarcasm]. (The article doesn’t say anything about anti-depressants, but I don’t see any resources for alternative treatment).
I noticed the Australian government is trying to deal with the unintended consequences of handing over 20% of the population to big pharma.
They obviously didn’t consider the consequences of labelling people as ill ending up on welfare benefits. Its quite a balancing act they are going to have to perform to make people sick enough to be drugged, but not too sick that they can claim benefits.
I know they have their eyes on 600,000 people here in Australia. I suppose they could always see which ones can be put to work, and maybe ‘repurpose’ Zyklon B to treat the rest.
According to the Ham-D scale a dead patient is not depressed anymore (” The score is within the normal range”). QED.
Ewww there’s that term again, we don’t call them dead people, they are negative outcomes.
And if a dead patient, I mean negative outcome is no longer depressed, can I claim to have a cure?
I shouldn’t be so sarcastic, I mean I owe mental health services so much. They did cure me of the delusional belief that I lived in a democracy. Cost me my home, wife, and everything I worked for my whole life, but I’m cured.
And yeah shall know the truth, and the truth shall make yeah free 🙂
It’s called dealing with superfluous population as N. Chomsky would describe it:
“The economic policies of the last 20 years are a rich man’s version of structural adjustment. You create a superfluous population, which in the US context is largely poor, black, and Hispanic, and a much wider population that is economically dissatisfied. You read all the headlines about the great economy, but the facts are quite different. For the vast majority, these neoliberal policies have had a negative effect. With regard to wages, we have only now regained the wage levels of 30 years ago. Incomes are maintained only by working longer and harder, or with both adults in a family working.”
What do you do with these people? Lock them up in prisons, medicate until they die or commit involuntarily.
This really is “a cruel concept.” Defame millions of people with scientifically “lacking in validity” disorders, and coerce / force them onto brain and body damaging drugs, based upon scientifically proven lies. Then the governments take billions from the drug companies, due to their fraud. And now the government wants to keep the money for themselves, rather than help those who were actually harmed by the toxic pharmaceutical drugs. It sure does seem we have greedy, unjust psychopaths in charge at this point.
I couldn’t agree more. There’s no such thing as a broken brain – until the person starts taking the psychoactives.
I’m on SSDI for depression,anxiety and related symptoms and the benefits are very skimpy. I live with a parent now but without living with said parent (as I was for about 7 years) I would be living in very dumpy low income housing in bad stressful bleak neighborhood affording very cheap, unhealthy food and living under the stigma of poverty which enhances if not causes mental health issues. I have been pressured on occasions very strongly to take medications. Having been on medications for about eight years I know that they are not helpful to me and cause bad unwanted side effects. I worry that I may lose my benefits which though are very skimpy would still create more problems for me.I use yoga,exercise,sleep,positive distraction like intellectually stimulating activities,learning, or even watching fantasy cartoon ect. to help me keep my mood up which is a constant job for me with the tendency to be depressed. I think rather than mandating meds we should have a low stress lifestyle option where a person gets a basic income that raises them above the poverty line, options for therapy and this include holistic therapies like massage therapy,yoga classes, maybe some kind of extra incentive to buy fruits and veg like food stamps (that can be added onto the overall basic income) that can be used for produce . Also I would add Y-membership or a gym membership of some kind. Also there could be opportunities to do light work that is socially beneficial and not too stressful, like maybe 1 to 24 hours a week helping out at a recycling center or at a stray cat refuge or serving meals at a respite center or elderly persons home. I would also add if a person needs internet or appliances have some kind of discount or sliding scale so they can afford or have access to these things which increase quality of life, create more options and can help people transcend depression. There could also be optional group meets in public places for people with issues to gather and chat have some kind of group therapy session, I say in public because it is good to feel that you belong to a society rather than being aside from a society and being associated with a hospital, having meets in public lets people know they are part of the society and do not need to be hidden or associated with hospital setting.
Yes the system we have in place…is to offer meager “benefits” that include just enough money to live in a depressing tiny apartment and just enough to buy unhealthy crap food which makes you more depressed and anxious. And yes, see your prescriber every two months for your 5 minute check in and take your meds so we can keep you on the dole.
A horrible and deeply unhealthy system. Yes it would be great if that could be augmented by truly healthy offerings in the way of fresh food, yoga, a gym membership, etc. we choose to leave people isolated and drugged. And when they stop taking drugs because of the horrible side effects, the withdrawal effects send them back to the hospital for a very expensive “retreat.”
I think the main way to address this is to examine the bottom line…money. Every county and State is stretched thin by their mental health care costs. We need to show that heavily medicating everybody leads to increased disability and then costs the government more. And yes, offering alternative programs, social clubs, gym memberships, healthy food, etc…will lead to less “decompensation”.
Just drugging people and then sending them to live in shitty cubicles to eat top ramen the rest of their lives is a recipe for an unfolding disaster.
Our mental health system offers yacht club memberships, meals in the best restaurants in town, the absolute best real estate in town etc.
Trouble is it only gets offered to the parasites at the top of the mental health system. Plenty of money, just disappearing into a few pockets.
Excellent suggestions! Thanks for sharing. The only thing I would tweak would be that access to those supports ought not to depend upon one’s having psychiatric diagnoses.
Did they report in the article that the Minster made a deal with the Pharmaceutical Companies that will provide the drugs will include bonuses for Doctors that prescribe treatments?
Does something like this exist?
Last time I saw my GP – he nearly mugged me with ‘mental illness’. I had to complain to the Uk Ombudsman; to clean the interview of statements like “..denies marked anxiety, depression…”
In 17 years with this (UK) doctors surgery – they have never conducted a basic interview with me.
Well, if you have to be coerced to treat “anxiety and depression” maybe there’s something wrong with the treatment?
According to mental health advocates friends of mine, such a condition to the receipt of welfare benefits would require at the very least a change in the UK Mental Health Act (MHA).
The pilot which is due to take place in the Autumn should not even take place since it will breach the terms of the Act. Therefore the pilot may be illegal.This would/will constitute (yet another) violation of our human rights, something that should be our first concern…. My hunch is that they are trying to force a change to the MHA through the pilot… i.e. pilot first, then forced change even if the outcome is inconclusive or negative (quite the norm for this gvt).
And yet no one among the mental health charities and other groups at the high table of the Gvt are saying anything that I am aware of….