When reading what the government proposes when it comes to Mental Health, I immediately am concerned as none of it makes sense. Constantly they are always cutting back services and support that is available to those with mental health, particularly depression and anxiety, and this is all to save money to many radical reforms that they are currently doing. So when I read an article earlier this week on The Telegraph, titled 'Tories Discuss Stripping Benefits Claimants who refuse treatment for depression" I was appalled and disgusted for those who receive the Employment Support Allowance benefit.
The reason or reasons why this is so shocking and unjustified, is because those with depression all are different and will have different feelings, attitudes and understanding of living with depression, nobody with depression is the same, just like somebody without depression, everyone is different. Therefore, this senseless idea of forcing depression sufferers into getting counselling or not get any support from the welfare is not understood by the Tories. The Tories believe that "rules should be reviewed in order to reduce the "huge" numbers of people who are declared unfit for work due to mental health problems." Yet did the Tories at the same time as thinking this, realise that many depression and other mental health sufferers are restricted to the services from the NHS? Waiting lists are at an all-time high, with most sufferers having to wait longer than 6 months just for a counselling session! Can they not see, that when those with depression need help it isn't around for them? Mental Health is a very vulnerable subject, but when those who have it ask for help, it's kind of a big thing because they are letting other people in, something that is often a very big thing. Yet, this proposal will force those with depression to let people in and when they're told to let them in, it all takes time, you cannot rush or just get better with depression...sometimes depression will be with you for your lifetime, not just like a light-bulb off and on!
"The first moves towards potential reform are expected in a series of pilot schemes to be launched within weeks.
The trials, jointly designed by the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions, will test ways of combining treatment for mental health problems with support to find work."
However it is great to know that Normal Lamb, the Lib Dem Health Minister disagrees with the Conservatives ideas...
"Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem health minister, said mandating mental health treatment for benefit claimants would not work and was "not a sensible idea".
The idea that you frogmarch someone into therapy with the threat of a loss of benefits simply won't work," he said. "It is not a question of whether tough love is a good concept. You actually need someone to go into therapy willingly."
Perhaps the conservatives will soon realise that the increase in depression in children, teenagers and adults is something that needs addressing and the support through NHS counselling should be in place, rather than forcing the support, it should be offered without long, unnecessary waiting lists. Another great concern is that this treatment will and is more than likely to make those with depression a lot worse, yes it may save the tax-payer money, however is health really worth more than money? Depression isn't asked to be had, people get it and it isn't easy to shift, so being threatened and demanded to take help is only going to make the mood a lot worse and the person could become more depressed which wouldn't help them at all.
What are your thoughts on the Tories' ideas? Do you have Mental Health and receive support and are concerned or have experienced the long waiting lists for counselling? Get in touch. @mattcliffy25