More Jobseeker’s Allowance Claimants Subject To Benefit Sanctions

The number of sanctions imposed on jobseeker's allowance (JSA) claimants rose to 227,629 in the last three months of 2013, an increase of 69,600 on the equivalent quarter in 2012.

In total, 870,793 claimants were subject to an adverse decision to lose their benefit in 2013 because of a failure to meet Jobcentre Plus requirements to make themselves available for work.

In October alone, there were 88,489 adverse decisions, a record number of sanctions for a single month since the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started compiling the figures.

From the Guardian Wednesday 14 May 2014 Click HERE for full story

Universal Credit Could Lead To ‘Increased Risks of Fraud and Error’, Say Work and Pensions Committee

It remains uncertain how DWP will manage the housing costs element of Universal Credit without increased risks of fraud and error, warns a Work and Pensions Committee report.
The Government has stated that an IT system (the Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS)) will allow it to cross-check data and provide similar safeguards against fraudulent claims under Universal Credit as are currently operated by local authorities within the Housing Benefit system.
However, last year the National Audit Office (NAO) found that IRIS was "missing" from the UC Pathfinders, and it remains unclear how or when DWP will achieve automated access to the range of property data currently available to local authorities. The Committee concludes that such a system will need to be fully developed and tested before national implementation of Universal Credit commences.
From the Welfare News Service Click HERE for full story

Face-To-Face ‘Fit For Work’ Interviews Could Be Scrapped

MHNE welcomes the news reported in the Scottish Daily Record that the DWP appears to be finally listening to criticisms of the work capability assessment (WCA). The article suggests that the DWP is exploring the possibility of scrapping WCAs, following a report by experts which blamed the controversial tests for delays in processing benefit claims.

Consideration is being given to replacing the WCA with a streamlined system, based upon written medical evidence acquired from claimants, their GP's and consultants.

Click on the Link to access full article http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/back-work-interviews-scrapped-after-3384060

Benefits assessment led to woman's suicide says watchdog

The BBC website has another disturbing story of an ATOS assessment outcome leading to someone taking their life:

The way a woman was assessed for benefits led to her suicide less than a month later, according to a mental health watchdog.

The woman had a history of depression and was on significant medication, but scored zero points in a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), carried out by ATOS.

A Mental Welfare Commission report said it could see no other factor "in her decision to end her life".

Read the full story here: http://bbc.in/OU3ToX

Mental health, help 'needed in schools'

MHNE would applaud and support the launch of a new website aimed at assisting anyone working with children and young people - including teachers, sports coaches, police, healthcare professionals, social workers adults in recognising the early signs of mental health problems in children.

Called MindEd, this online tool is made up of small learning modules. Which according to Child psychiatrist Dr Raphael Kelvin - who led the project, are "individually tailored to equip those working with children - with the skills to support and identify children with mental health conditions".

With numbers quoted of at least 850,000 children in the UK having a diagnosed mental health condition, a figure that many claim may well be rising. This  point was raised by our CEO in an interview today on Real Radio and MHNE feels is of  great concern. MHNE would agree with Dr Kelvin that "schools a vital place to start" to tackle this problem.

Taken from an article by Dr Kelvin on the BBC Website click HERE to read more

To View the MindEd site Click HERE

Stigma of mental illness is (still) a barrier to care and help-seeking

According to an interim report produced by a group called Opening Minds, many service users and carers report that their most vivid experience of stigma actually arises from their contacts with mental health professionals. Although this report relates to Canada,(being commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada), MHNE would be interested in hearing the experiences of service users and carers, with regard to stigma experienced whilst dealing with health care professionals in the North East. This stigmatisation is often unintentional but it can include negativity about and/or impede patient's chances of recovery.

This comment was inspired by an article Posted by Nikki Newhouse on the Mental Elf website please click HERE to read the original article.

Is macho culture causing young men to take their own lives?

In response to the above article posted on the BBC website on March 13 2014 a spokesperson for MHNE's youth group Reaching Out North East (RONE) said "it is shocking that suicide is the biggest killer for men under 50, how to stay mentally well should be openly discussed in schools. Schoolchildren need to be taught how to help each other so that people don't grow up to feel so bad about their lives."

To view the article : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26543095

Also if you have any views on the content of the article or the views expressed by RONE please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Social care staff and providers face prosecution for wilful neglect or ill-treatment

These proposals, which would also apply to health services, are designed to fill a gap in the law left by section 127 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. These created offences of ill-treatment or wilful neglect for people with mental disorders committed by staff or guardians, or people who lack capacity to take relevant decisions by care staff or attorneys or deputies appointed to take decisions for them. Click HERE to read more

Mind report 21% drop in the number of adults with mental health needs who received social care support since 2005,

Cuts to local authority social care budgets – the majority of which have hit since 2009 – have left a funding shortfall for care of up to £260 million, the charity said. Mind extracted the data from research published by the London School of Economics in December last year. When demographic changes are accounted for, the fall in the number of mental health service users in receipt of social care support since 2005 could be as high as 68,000 – a 48% drop. The reduction in the number of people with physical health needs receiving social care support was 33%.

The report also found that almost a third (30%) of councils had halved the number of people with mental health problems receiving social care support. http://www.pssru.ac.uk/archive/pdf/dp2867.pdf