There has been a splash in the press this week about Bipolar Disorder, because of the brave step made by Catherine Zeta-Jones in disclosing she has Bipolar II. Like many interesting news items, I shared the story on Facebook, and this question (above) was one of the reactions from a good friend of mine.
In this post, I’ve decided to concentrate on the advantages of having a brother like Alvin, rather than dwell upon the difficulties. I have seen him on a couple of occasions recently, both at my parents’ home in Suffolk and in London.
It has been two and a half years since Incapacity Benefit was replaced by Employment and Support Allowance. While most of people’s attention during that time has been on people claiming the benefit for the first time, there have been millions of people still claiming the old Incapacity Benefit and wondering what will happen to them and when.
Whatever one thinks of ideas about the ‘Big Society', few could argue with the principle of enabling ALL citizens to take an active role in their communities – of communities coming together to address the challenges they face. But can we really say that those of us with mental health conditions are included among the ranks of those citizens who comprise the Big Society?
Over the last few days, government ministers, spokespeople and spin-doctors have all been very keen to impress on us how their plans for welfare reform, published today, put work at the heart of the welfare system.
As I write, I am seated in the departure lounge of Belfast International Airport, waiting for a flight to London. I am both excited and a little nervous, because I have an important task ahead of me.
I have a brother called Alvin, who happens to have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He was diagnosed many years ago when I was fifteen, and he was seventeen. I am now thirty-one years old, and work as a mental health professional – as a nurse.
Blog post from Jane Harris, Rethink's Deputy Director of Public Affairs.
We heard this week that the government will repeal the duty in the recent Equality Act to consider the impact of new policies on socio-economic equality. It’s hard in some ways to say what impact this will have on any of us. The duty only started few months ago so what it might have achieved is hard to say. It will certainly go down as one of the shortest lived policies in recent memory - it only came into force last month.
The tabloid press may think that people on benefits have it easy, but it has been an anxiety-inducing few months for people who rely on benefits for everyday life. First there was the budget, with changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Housing Benefit, then the Spending Review, with changes to Employment and Support Allowance and more changes to Housing Benefit and then today the Welfare white paper.
It would be hard to think of many people who were looking forward to the spending review (other than a handful of political geeks and journalists of course). From the media coverage before the event, it looked like unadulterated doom and gloom.