Tuesday, 20 March 2012


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Today in the Dailymail newspaper is an article of particular concern and worry to myself. It is an article about the reason incidence of suicide among a particular group of people, the disabled. A link to the article is here:  

Since the Conservative led coalition government took power in May 2010 there appears to have been a concerted effort to discriminate against and stigmatise people who claim welfare benefits because of a disability. Whilst the government claims to be merely rooting out benefit cheats and empowering people to take more control of their lives the reality is very different.

Many people who have either a physical or mental health disability are having their benefits cut or taken away completely, and claiming for these benefits is very complex and very difficult to do. People who are often at their most vulnerable, distressed and least capable are being asked to fill in life changing forms that would tax the mind of a University Professor never mind someone living on the edge of society.

But what happens if you have your benefits taken away or if you are unable to claim them? Having access to benefits such as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) open the doors to other support such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. Bear in mind that this help is not designed to support a wealthy lifestyle but is meant to help people who do have genuine problems with disability and who are unable to do any form of work and have to be selective about the type of work they do so as to lessen the impact on their disability.

Having these benefits cut or taken away means that the individual is then forced to look for work which may well be unsuitable for them. Another factor to consider is will employers be willing to take on an individual with a disability who may cost them more time and money to train and keep employed, rather than someone seen as more able and possibly cheaper to employ in the long run?

Already a picture is beginning to emerge of someone with no or little benefits to support themselves and facing a battle to get a job that does not impact too much on their disability. Add to that the feeling of being discriminated against and the fear of stigmatisation and it is easy to see how someone can go into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety that may eventually lead to suicide.

It is the feelings of not being listened to, feeling misunderstood, alone in the world, not knowing who to turn to and feeling let down by society that build up over time and eventually you cannot take anymore, your mind has so many thoughts running through it but no solutions appear it feels like it will explode and the only way out is through death.
Unfortunately this is the way society is heading for the most vulnerable, most desperate, most needy in our society. 

More and more people will see suicide as the only way out of a situation there are in, often through no choice of their own and not of their own making. Will the government change its plans and quite rightly root out the benefit cheats whilst looking after the people who need help, or will it continue to discriminate and stigmatise disabled people, using them as a scapegoat for economic problems that they had nothing to do with? I know which route I feel the government will go down.

All comments and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Please feel free to add your own comments and ask questions.

Thank you for reading my blog :) 

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