It’s disappointing that the Mental Health Resistance Network have taken the decision to protest outside our offices today. We feel this action is unnecessary and unjust and has the potential to distress staff, volunteers and visitors at Mind, many of whom have their own personal experiences of mental health problems. We have offered to meet with this group on several occasions and continue to offer to have an open and reasonable conversation with them.
We share the frustrations of the Mental Health Resistance Network about the failings of the benefits system for people with mental health problems. Mind has campaigned independently and vigorously to change a welfare system that is not only failing to support people with mental health problems but, in many cases, is making people more unwell. We have worked with families of people who have lost loved ones due to the distress of cuts to their benefits, helping them share their stories in the media. We have long been calling on the Government to urgently overhaul fitness for work tests and to focus on support rather than sanctions and this remains a campaigning priority for Mind.
Tom Pollard from Mind’s Policy and Campaigns Team is being seconded to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) so that he can use his knowledge and expertise to advise on the most appropriate and effective ways to support and engage with people with mental health problems across a range of policy issues. We welcome this opportunity for him to advise the DWP as it designs and delivers a number of key policies that will impact on thousands of people with mental health problems.