The mentally ill

Question – what is the maximum rate for jobseekers allowance? Yes, you, daily mail man at the back there?

A London mansion, a speedboat and 4 holidays a year…..?

Close, but no cigar.

Anyone? Go on, have a guess…

It’s £67.50 a week.

Why should that be of any interest to folk with mental health problems?

Surely they get sickness pay or something ?

Well yes, a bunch of folk do… But for a huge chunk, all they get is £67.50 for food, bills and clothing.

Many folk in this position are so flat or unwell to do much of anything.

They live in a world of defeated fear.

Defeated because they are unable to take that next step to claim the benefits they are entitled to, to seek the help they need.

Fear, because of the embarrassment they often feel about their condition. If only I could just pull myself together…often too ashamed to tell friends and family about what’s going on for them.

These same people often go to their gp and tell them, ‘oh, I’m fine…’

Imagine being at the end of your tether – feeling absolutely hopeless, when suddenly you’re presented with an incapacity benefit form, or a disability living allowance form, both of which would put war and peace to shame.

How in the name of cracky pants is someone who has mental health problems going to complete these?

Help’s there! I hear you cry. But again, if you’re on your arse because of mental health problems – you’re not going to be rushing out any time soon – especially with the fear of rejection already weighing so heavily upon you.

The application process has been made so difficult so as to ensure the villains don’t get what they’re not entitled to.
Because they’re mentally able, it’s likely that the whole system is doing them a favour.

£660 – that’s the size of gift an mp can receive without registering it.

People with chronic and enduring mental health problems often have to go through the stress of claiming and reclaiming their benefits on an annual basis – hoping against hope that the “decision maker” (that’s really what the person who marks the forms is called) will find in their favour.

One in four of us will fall prey to some manner of mental health problem or other during our lifetime.

The next time you see a friend or a family member ask them how they are.

When they say,’fine,’ look them in the eye and ask again.

Walk a mile in their shoes

Chris

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