“Mental health workers and their clients marched on a jobcentre in south-west London in protest at a scheme they say frames unemployment as a psychological disorder,” reported The Guardian.
Mad in America has previously reported on studies and concerns about expanding requirements in the UK that people who claim social benefits must submit to regular psychological evaluations and treatments.
The march was organized by the Mental Health Resistance Network, in protest of a reported government plan to locate mental health workers right inside a particular work assistance center.
While the British Psychological Society has not taken a position against the practice, the protesters were joined by members of Psychologists Against Austerity and the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, according to Disability News Service. Psychologists Against Austerity includes hundreds of mental health professionals who have been trying to educate the public about how “Austerity policies have damaging psychological costs, both increasing mental distress in the present and storing problems for the future.” The Guardian also reported that the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies stated that it was “against any offer of any treatment (including CBT) based on coercion or associated with unfair or disproportionate inducements”.
The government told The Guardian that the protesters were mistaken and that no such co-locating was planned to occur. But the void pointed to a press release from one of the non-profit groups involved in the plan which stated that the intention was to place “specialist mental health services operating alongside Jobcentre Plus Staff”.
Protesters to march on jobcentre over mental health therapy links (Disability News Service, June 19, 2015)
Mental health workers protest at move to integrate clinic with jobcentre (The Guardian, June 26, 2015)
Streatham Jobcentre Besieged By Protesters Demanding No Forced Treatment (the void, June 26, 2015)