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Mental health jobs axed

From Kath Murphy

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Which mental health jobs? Our son, who has the most severe form of mental illness, i.e. Schizophrenia, receives very little mental health support. He sees a psychiatrist (a different locum each time) if he's lucky, every six months unless we protest. He is medicated (it doesn't really help) but that's it… nothing else is offered and when we ask for therapy we are told there isn't the funding.

He is suffering, who cares? However, lucky northerners, we are informed that we can afford to spend money on ensuring the Queen keeps her level of luxury and garden bridges in London are made and Cameron's dad can avoid paying tax, albeit legally.

Nobody wants to know, people like him don't seem to matter.

From Jade Smith

Monday, 11 April 2016

As some may be aware there has been a successful art therapy service in Calderdale for approximately 25 years. The service has never lost a person to suicide and many have benefited greatly from it. This service is now under threat.

The waiting list, which was long, was closed some eighteen months ago without consultation. The therapists were given notice of compulsory redundancy in summer 2015 and commanded not to tell their service users. In December 2015 they were given those compulsory notices with a view to the service closing on 31st March. Only at this point were service users informed that they would lose their therapy in three months time. Not one service user had been consulted about this service closure. However, following a solicitors letter, threatening judicial review, the compulsory notices were rescinded! Service users are now in the situation where they are being 'engaged' by the Trust, who continues to believe and stated in a public meeting that it has no legal duty to consult! Suffice it to say these two jobs have been saved temporarily. But the future of those jobs rests with a group of people who appear determined that service does not work, despite what service users are telling them.

Whoever told Kath that there is 'no funding for therapy' was inaccurate, but it would depend what sort of therapy she was seeking for her son. Funding is available for 'therapy' but only those therapies which have been 'proved', through the use of randomised control trials, to work. Those are the sorts of therapies that are being funded. They tend to be short term, if a person is lucky they will get 12 sessions, if they are very very lucky they may get 20 weeks and that is it! A person is more likely to be offered good mood football or a place making felt elephants as a means of dealing with their mental health issues these days. I have been told categorically by the Professional lead the for South West Yorkshire Partnership Trust, himself a qualified psychotherapist, that long term therapy does not work. His belief is that service users can be sorted in about twelve weeks flat!

You are right, Kath, when you say that your son's suffering is not being acknowledged. It seems to me that the suffering of those whose needs are long term are being denied on the basis that their clinical need does not fit the evidence based paradigm that is currently being used as the excuse to destroy good services that have worked well for many.

I wish you well in your battle… all I can say is you are not alone.

From Susan Quick

Monday, 11 April 2016

Kath, if he isn't already getting it may I suggest your son claim Direct Payments which can be used for a range of support. Eg, I use mine for weekly therapy as well as household assistance. I have a form of brain damage known as head injury which combines physical and mental impairment.

Direct Payments is administered by Calderdale who will conduct a Community Care assessment.