“Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse treatment for depression” screamed the Telegraph headline.
This is worrying for so many reasons, I hardly know where to start.
Perhaps with the unnamed “Senior ministers” who “now believe the rules should be reviewed in order to reduce the “huge” numbers of people who are declared unfit for work due to mental health problems. ” I have to wonder what qualifications these politicians hold in the field of mental health. If they think that treating mental illness is so simple, I have to conclude that they are not qualified at all.
Or perhaps I should start by wondering who would provide this “service”. It probably won’t be people’s own GP, as the government don’t trust them enough to take their word above that of ATOS assessors when it comes to the notorious Work Capability Assessment. It may be a similarly incompetent company, leeching money away from the NHS in return for a pseudo- cure. That cure would probably simply be to declare the claimant “fit for work”.
Or it could be job centre “advisors” pronouncing on people’s health, ignoring the claimant’s own doctor’s advice, and just sanctioning people to meet their targets.
Since the proposed “treatments” seem to include prescription drugs, some kind of health professionals with the ability to write prescriptions will likely be involved, but they would need to act professionally, rather than just have some impressive looking letters after their names. Giving antidepressants to people with other medical problems, and with other medication, could be unhelpful, or even dangerous. My doctor is reluctant to give me antidepressants because I also use eye-drops, which could be undermined by taking other drugs. I could end up blind as a result.
Or perhaps it’s enough to point out that threatening to deprive already ill people of their means to survive is going to be stressful, and will only serve to deepen any existing anxiety or depression.
An ever decreasing spiral of misery which some victims will only be able to see an escape from through suicide. It’s already happened to far too many people, and it’s likely to happen to more.
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