Mind in action
Posted Monday 18 January 2010
Today the newspapers tell us it's the most depressing day of the year. If Blue Monday has you down, why not cheer yourself up by revisiting some of the key ways Mind campaigned to make a real difference to people over the past 12 months.
Men and mental health
During Mind week in May we showed that men are much less likely than women to ask for help for their mental health, even though the experience depression and other symptoms just as frequently as women. As a result of the campaign, the Department of Health commissioned Mind, along with Men’s Health Forum, to write a paper on how mental health services, employers and community groups can better meet the needs of men.
Campaign for equal justice
Our Another assault campaign had a very successful year, starting in January when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was found to be in breach of the Human Rights Act after denying justice to a man with schizophrenia. Following the case, the House of Commons Justice Committee launched a stinging report highlighting the CPS’s poor treatment of victims and witnesses with mental health problems, largely based on Mind’s evidence to the Committee. The CPS responded with new policies and guidance (PDF) for prosecutors.
There was widespread concern that the Government was going to scrap Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA). Thanks to your support – our petition was signed by over 20,000 people – the Government announced in October that they would not scrap DLA for under 65s. We have continued to lobby MPs and Ministers of all parties on this issue, and the Conservatives have pledged in their draft manifesto to protect both DLA and AA, if they are elected.
The Welfare Reform Act (PDF) was passed by parliament in 2009. Mind opposed the legislation and faced a tough fight in Parliament, but we were pleased to secure some important safeguards (PDF) for people with mental health problems. Chief among these are that no one should be required to take mental health treatment in order to get a benefit, or be penalised if they are too distressed to comply with a requirement.
Refugees and asylum seekers
Mind has recently launched two reports on mental health provision for refugees and asylum seekers. The reports represent the culmination of two years’ work developing the capacity of refugee organisations to respond to mental health needs, and highlighting the negative impact of mental health policy for those responsible for commissioning services. The next phase will involve working more closely with service commissioners.
Our ongoing work on debt was recognised in November when Mind won RADAR’s ‘Doing money differently’ award. Our In the red campaign has raised awareness within Government and financial institutions of the circular relationship between debt and mental distress.
Mariam Kemple, Amy Whitelock and Marcel Vige, Mind Policy and Campaigns team
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