A new film by Tyneside Mind highlights some of the problems faced by people with mental health difficulties who are forced to go through the government’s Work Capability Assessment.
Although actors are used in the film, the stories are the real experiences of some of the people Tyneside Mind support.
The Work Capability Assessment has failed to properly consider people experiencing mental health problems, with the 15 minute assessment often conducted by people with no mental health experience or training whatsoever.
Documentation from mental health professionals is often totally ignored, with the focus of the assessment being on physical capability rather than taking the person’s whole heath into consideration.
In May 2013 there was a small legal victory for people with mental health problems subjected to the assessment.
Under the current system, no matter how ill or even delusional you may be, you are responsible for proactively gathering your own medical evidence and sending it to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). If you fail to do this, it simply won’t be looked at. In effect, you are guilty until proved innocent.
For someone with mental health problems this can be a confusing if not impossible task, and obtaining and organising various pieces of information, or even knowing what information is needed, means that many are unable to provide information which reflects the severity of their condition.
The judicial review focussed on the gathering of evidence for the assessment, and three judges ruled that the current system of expecting people with mental health problems to gather their own evidence was discriminatory and put them at a disadvantage.
Although the judgement is a significant step forward, there are still legal processes to go through before we will see the government taking any positive action, and for now the assessment process remains the same.
Now to the film:
From Mind: “Watch this film and then use the links below to share it with your friends and family.
We need as many people as possible to see this film, particularly those who may not be familiar with this difficult process, so that we can increase the pressure for change.
The film contains references to suicide which you may find triggering, please watch carefully.”