Nine leading mental health, psychology, psychotherapy and counselling organisations have called on the government to reconsider the way in which the benefits system deals with people living with a mental health condition.
In a consensus statement, the organisations say that the social security system too often treats people with insufficient dignity and humanity, which can contribute to and worsen their mental health conditions.
The statement also calls for everyone living with a mental health condition to be supported in attaining financial security, whether through the social security system or appropriate help in returning to or gaining paid work.
The professional bodies and mental health charities acknowledge that the psychological benefits of good quality work have been proven, while the financial security which can come with unemployment or insecure, low-paid work can cause increased psychological distress.
However, the statement also makes clear that no one with a mental health condition should ever be forced to look for work, or face the threat of having their benefit payments reduced and their financial security removed.
It adds that sanctions such as these have not been shown to work, and are not safe for people with mental health difficulties or for their families and children dependent on them. As a result they should be stopped.
The nine organisations pledge to work together to bring to an end the harm that sanctions cause, and to move towards a system which provides effective support and is based around the needs of the individual.
The consensus statement is being launched today, Friday 22nd March 2019, at the 12th New Savoy Annual Conference in London.
The nine organisations are:
- British Psychological Society
- New Savoy Partnership
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
- UK Council for Psychotherapy
- British Psychoanalytic Council
- Rethink Mental Illness
- Mental Health Foundation
- Centre for Mental Health
- Association of Child Psychotherapists
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