UserWatch in the UK has been Top-mental-health-Charity-watching for some time and its clear they face in two directions at once. There's no doubt they were responsible via consultations and even Select Committee level for what is now an altered Incapacity Benefit (IB) into the Employment Support (ESA) Allowance.
IB as of today is extinct .
The two-faced charity position is constructed by having a "we are for you" face for the domestic audience of their constituences as well as one for strategic survival with Govt at a top level .
Its been organisationally profitable for Rethink and MIND to be close to the Welfare Reform action and shaping that. More recently they obtained £18 million of Big Lottery money for anti stigma "work orientated" campaigns along with Mental Health Media a charity that supplied some data to "SHIFT" another DOH anti-stigma quangling, dangling from NIMHE. Mental Health Media is now to be absorbed into National MIND ... Confirming to some of us that its duplication of Govt policy through the back door can now quietly disappear .
Instead of creating an impetus for more Patient Choice the Top-MH Charities have gone along with the cheaper ideas of Dept Of Health's over-regulated C.B.T therapy, and no wider therapy choices . Patients cannot drive the shape of their own recovery treatments despite the visions put forwards for years . Many are still not centre to their own recovering lives through supply-choices . The system still is . The MH Large Charities have in fact re-inforced the idea of Top-Down bureacratic policy roll outs because all of them re-inforced the idea of NIMHE and CSIP (Care Services Improvment Partnerships) the mental health new bureacracies that have cost well over £100 millions from 2004 onwards
The doublespeke continues though . UserWatch picked this up in the Independent from Sophie Corlett - It appears to UserWatch to be a MIND PR attempt to show how "concerned" national MIND is now that the ESA is here
Hundreds of thousands of people who have not worked for years because of long-standing problems will be forced to hunt for jobs as the new medical assessment is gradually rolled out to the 2.5 million currently on incapacity benefit, around 40 per cent of whom have mental health problems.
Sophie Corlett, the director of policy at the mental health charity Mind, said: "The new benefit is system driven, hugely bureaucratic and is too inflexible to deal with the range and complexities of fluctuating mental health problems. The tragic thing is that we know what works but they haven't had the courage of their convictions."
The first line out of a BBC Social Affairs Co-respondent James Westhead's mouth tonight was to re-stigmatise benefit claimants. The BBC correspondent said the Welfare Reforms had been passed over concerns over benefit "fiddling" .
Benefit Fraud is very small in the UK and represents only 6 tenths of 1 per cent of each "Welfare Pound" spent..
From David Freud's innacurate benefit fraud-claiming interview in the Telegraph this year and from 2005 David Blunkett's claims reported in the Guardian :
The report came as the work and pensions secretary, David Blunkett, admitted the disability benefits system was "crackers", and told claimants to stop watching daytime television and get out to work. He also conceded the £13bn housing benefit bill was a "nightmare"
UserWatch has to give credit to one Journalist at the Guardian - Jonathon Rutherford and this is a post of responses below he made to concerns expressed in his article about new welfare reforms (relevant to mental health ) :
Good points ET. I agree we need to change the welfare system and I agree with you that training and skills are central - so too though is proper provision for people who are mentally ill - not just CBT and a brief Condition Management Programme.
This is long term, there are no quick fixes. There are a lot of people who need long term support and it need not be in paid employment - it's about helping people find their own capacities going at their own pace knowing that benefits are not going to be taken away from them - maybe its helping people into social situations after years of isolation.
There is a tendency in this debate to talk about the unemployed without recognising that people on IB are also ill or have a disability. Also we need to recognise that years of poverty, deprivation both material and emotional, plus the dysfunctional family relationships they lead to leave their mark through generations. The damage done by the Conservative government in the 1980s lives on.