MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING FOR SUICIDAL IDEATION, MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. NOT INTENDED FOR PATIENTS.
If you are treating a patient who is in crisis because of the election result, please do not dismiss their fears or reaction as a persecution complex or as over-dramatic. Disabled people affected by this are not sad because their candidate lost; they’re scared because the last decade has been increasingly harmful and the result means five more years of that. Please see this post for the research and other evidence of why disabled people are justified in feeling hopeless and afraid.
They are probably in immediate crisis if you are treating them, so please do not minimise or dismiss their fears. It might seem confusing or unimportant to people not affected, but these are valid concerns based on evidence and experience, and your patient had been hoping for an outcome which would have reversed many of the harmful aspects of the system they rely on.
However, as you’ll know, this is not the time to justify their suicidal thoughts or feelings. It’s important that they know that they’re not alone, that a lot of people are involved in fighting the system and that their death would not ‘send a message’. To be blunt, there have been hundreds of suicides, and none of them have resulted in a change in policy, so if the person expresses the idea that their death would ‘show them’, please gently explain that it wouldn’t. The best way to resist them is by surviving.
Thank you for your care and compassion in these times of crisis.
Thankfully, most of this wasn’t needed. People were more confused than suicidal, which is one of the few bright lights in the fallout. I’ll leave it here for now, because who knows what will happen in the next few months.
Many people have asked me for an easy to reference list of the evidence for the democide of disabled people in the UK. I am going to update it over time, because it is too much for my mental health to do it all in one go, but here are the key studies and judgements, and where possible, the original research. If I have linked a news article, it’s because it has important clarifying information and quotes.
“After ruling out data errors, cold weather and flu as main causes for the spike, the researchers found that NHS performance data revealed clear evidence of health system failures. Almost all targets were missed including ambulance call-out times and A&E waiting times, despite unexceptional A&E attendances compared to the same month in previous years. Staff absence rates rose and more posts remained empty as staff had not been appointed.
The researchers say that there are already worrying signs of an increase in mortality in 2016. Without urgent intervention, they say, there must be concern that this trend will continue.
Liverpool and Oxford University research on increased suicide and mental ill health. Although direct causal link couldn’t be established because of the nature of the data, experts agree that the conclusions are robust.
“In findings that could be hugely damaging for the Government’s welfare reform agenda, experts from the universities of Liverpool and Oxford said that up to 590 additional suicides, 279,000 cases of mental ill health and 725,000 more prescriptions for antidepressants between 2010 and 2013 were associated with the introduction of the more stringent Work Capability Assessment (WCA).”
Calum’s List – a list of confirmed suicides or deaths caused by exacerbation of condition due to stress, with links to reports from press and coroners. This small set were gathered by family contacting the site owners to ask for their loved ones to be included.
Cradle2Grave – list of some of the dead
Mental Health Damage and Risk of Self-Harm and Suicide
Napier and Heriot-Watt Universities research finding ‘almost universal’ mental health damage from the assessment process for ESA, often permanent, sometimes catastrophic: Mental Health and Unemployment in Scotland
Universities of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford: Understanding vulnerability to self-harm in times of economic hardship and austerity: a qualitative study
Oxfordshire Mind has been awarded a six-figure sum from the Big Lottery fund to enable the service to expand to specifically cope with the fallout from the government’s welfare reform programme. The BBMH hotline has received 20% more calls over the past 18 months from people anxious about benefit changes.
UN Investigation and Evidence
BBC Article on the Judgement: UN: ‘Grave’ disability rights violations under UK reforms
Changes to PIP/ESA and the Processes of Assessment
Statements submitted to MPs have provided further evidence of widespread dishonesty among healthcare professionals who carry out disability benefit assessments, but their inquiry has had to be abandoned because of the prime minister’s decision to call a general election.
Appalled disabled activists have warned the British Medical Association (BMA) that it will be “complicit” in the future deaths of patients, after the doctors’ union refused to speak out about “very dangerous” new benefit rules affecting severely-ill claimants.
Political Party Responses