Mental health survivors and psychologists have joined forces for a conference that has highlighted the extreme damage caused by welfare reform, and has suggested how mental health professionals can help in the fight to improve the benefit system.The Psychologists and the Benefits System conference in Manchester was organised by clinical psychologist and lecturer Dr Stephen Weatherhead and Joanna, a mental health system survivor, who had been exchanging ideas around the impact of welfare reform for the last two years.The conference – sub-titled Time To Get Off The Fence – featured presentations by both academics and campaigners, including a workshop to help psychologists write letters for service-users needing access to support such as benefits.One of the presentations was delivered by Joy Hibbins, founder of Suicide Crisis, a charity in Gloucestershire which runs a crisis centre that is open to anyone in the county who is feeling suicidal.Hibbins, herself a mental health system survivor, talked about the impact of the benefits system on some of her clients.She described how for one client, Sam*, the risk of suicide “rose sharply the day before his appeal over withdrawal of benefits”.She said: “The loss of benefits (or fear/threat of loss of benefits) was not the reason why Sam became suicidal.“His suicidal thoughts had been triggered originally by the traumatic death of his partner.“However, the prospect of the loss of benefits was a final trigger, when he was already vulnerable, mentally unwell and destabilised by recent trauma.”For another client, Julia – who had emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) and faced a reassessment every year for employment and support allowance (ESA) – the fear of losing benefits caused her suicide risk “to rocket”.When she heard that her ESA claim had been successful, said Hibbins, “her immediate reaction was not relief, but fear and distress that she would have to go through it all again next year. “She is now trying to bring together a group of people with EUPD so that they can meet with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials to explain the impact of these annual assessments on them.”She told the conference that DWP officials had always listened when the centre explained the impact of losing their benefits on its clients, and eventually either reinstated or maintained those benefits.But she said this left her and her colleagues “extremely concerned” for benefit claimants who do not have the support of a centre like hers.She said: “We know how at risk some of our clients have been and if they hadn’t had support and advocacy, they may well have ended their lives.”Disabled activist Rick Burgess spoke about “democide”, the idea that actions by a government can cause harm or even death, but often go undefined and unchallenged because the perpetrator is the state.He said this illustrated what had happened to disabled people in the UK over the last decade through welfare reform, with the ideas of “malingering and illness deception” becoming mainstream, and eventually party and government policy, leading to the “surreal situation of people dying daily, of the same ‘errors’ and ‘failings’ repeating daily over many years”. Burgess (pictured) said that “an ‘accident’ that keeps repeating, every day, every week, every month, every year” while there were people able to stop it from happening who instead allowed it to continue, was “not a failure, neglect or an accident” but “the product of policy”.He said: “When other legislative changes contribute towards this outcome, when assessments of cumulative impact are refused, when information is denied and when voices are silenced that is a pattern that reveals a strategy.“Set amidst a global consensus on reducing state spending and support, with governments choosing to make a decision [on] which sectors of the population will lose support, this becomes an inevitable expression of democide.”He said this process had been assisted by the actions of doctors, lawyers, administrators, journalists and judges.He added: “The removal of normal legal redress, the limiting of charity dissent and simultaneous involvement of the third sector and the provision of a tortuous appeal system give the veneer of due process while delivering a reality of brutal denial of rights, up to and including the right to life.”He told the conference that those involved in the system, particularly health professionals, needed to “rediscover their ethical duties” by boycotting DWP, helping claimants with their claims, and encouraging other professionals to follow the same course of action. Dr Brigit McWade, from Lancaster University, spoke about her research with professor Imogen Tyler into how neoliberal governments – including the UK’s – stigmatised benefit claimants in order to justify their welfare reforms and privatisation agenda.She told the conference that Conservative ministers responsible for recent UK welfare reform, including Iain Duncan Smith, believe that the social security system produces “a culture of dependency, and a poverty trap”.And she pointed to research by Friedli and Stearn that showed how psychologists had been recruited into the social security system to help DWP identify “psychological barriers to gaining employment”, punish benefit claimants for failing to comply with the system, and attempt to foster attributes and attitudes that DWP believed would increase their “employability”.In this way, psychologists were supporting DWP’s focus on changing the individual’s behaviour rather than the social barriers they faced, she said.Claimants who failed to conform were subjected to “psycho-compulsive regimes that seek to re-condition” them and remove their benefits “through sanctions designed to punish the poor”.She told the conference that welfare reform policy had become “an act of war on an internal enemy of the government’s own creation”.Weatherhead, who is also based at Lancaster University, said after the conference that the event had provided information for psychologists on how to improve support for benefit claimants, while also drawing attention to some of the flaws in the system.He told Disability News Service: “The key issue we wanted to address was that the WCA is not up to scratch, and we need to get rid of sanctions.“Sanctions don’t work from a psychological perspective and target people already in financial straits and are just cruel to the most vulnerable groups in our society.”Weatherhead is now hoping that other such conferences will take place around the country, again involving both psychologists and service-users.He is also working with mental health survivors on a 24-hour vigil that will coincide with next year’s BPS annual conference, and will “raise support and awareness of all the people whose mental health has been affected by the benefits system, particularly those who have died”.He is hoping that he and other campaigners will persuade BPS to hold a session at the annual conference on the benefits system, the use of psycho-compulsion, and the ethics of psychologists working for DWP.Last year, he organised Walk the Talk, in which a group of psychologists walked 100 miles from British Psychological Society (BPS) offices in Leicester to BPS offices in London to raise awareness of social policies that are leading to psychological distress, such as benefit sanctions and the “fit for work” system, as well as homelessness and food poverty.He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @steweatherhead.*Not their real names
A local authority is facing legal action after a “deeply concerning” decision to slash a disabled woman’s care package before it had completed an assessment of her care needs.Hounslow council appears to have ignored its obligations under the Care Act by removing more than half of her support without even telling her what it had done.Jane* is a former recipient of support from the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which closed in June 2015. ILF had been helping Jane and nearly 17,000 other disabled people with high support needs to live independently at the time it closed.Local authorities in England have been receiving funding from central government to cover the support previously provided under ILF, but that money is not ring-fenced and so councils have no obligation to spend it on former ILF-recipients, or even on adult social care.Jane only found out that her support had been cut last month when her bank told her that the money Hounslow council had been paying her every month to match the support she previously received from ILF had not been paid in for the last two months.The council’s decision meant her support package had effectively been cut from 12 hours a day to just five, despite – she says – the council recognising that she needs and has 24-hour support and has needed this for years.The 84 hours of paid care she previously received – which has been topped up with unpaid care provided mainly by her personal assistants (PAs), which mean she is supported almost 24 hours a day – has enabled her to participate in her local community, chair three disability organisations, and even attend Glastonbury Festival to deliver a talk about disability rights.Jane said: “It is just a complete nightmare. The way they have treated me is inhumane, disrespectful and unlawful and it has exacerbated my depression and anxiety enormously.“It has left me feeling even more desperate, worthless, hopeless and suicidal and I keep getting panic attacks and feeling nauseous and struggling to breathe.“I am and feel responsible to my PAs as their employer. No-one should have to work not knowing if their employer will be able to pay them at the end of the month.“If I cannot afford to pay them they will need to find alternative employment, leaving me with even less care, as they currently do many extra unpaid hours for me, over and above their paid hours, as I need someone with me 24 hours a day, but I am only funded for 12 hours a day.“With the council stopping the ILF element of my care, that’s effectively cutting my care support to just five hours a day.“I was virtually housebound before I received ILF funding for the additional care I needed, and I cannot bear the thought of losing my independence and the choice and control over my day-to-day life that my carers support me to have.“Cutting my care will leave me housebound once again, unable to contribute to or to be a part of the world around me.”Hounslow council told Jane that it believed it no longer needed to fund any of the hours previously funded by ILF because of a court of appeal decision in the case of another former ILF-user, Luke Davey, from Oxfordshire.The court of appeal ruled in September that Oxfordshire County Council had been legally entitled to cut Davey’s support package from £1,651 a week to just £950, following the ILF closure.Davey’s lawyers had argued unsuccessfully that the council had breached its duty under the Care Act 2014 to meet his assessed needs, and would breach its duty to ensure his “wellbeing”.But in Jane’s case, Hounslow council had not even completed a proper assessment of her needs, and appears to have simply decided that – because of the Davey ruling – it no longer needed to fund support previously provided by ILF.It previously assessed her needs in October 2015, but her lawyer says the assessment was fundamentally flawed and after he threatened the council with a judicial review, it agreed to reassess her. That reassessment has still not been completed.Jane’s solicitor, Mitchell Woolf, from lawyers Scott-Moncrieff, said he believed the council’s actions were a clear breach of the Care Act.He said: “What they have done is to stop the ILF element of her care package without any notice.“They have cut her care package without having completed a lawful assessment since ILF closed and the Care Act came into force in 2015. I think this is deeply concerning.”He is also concerned that, using the Davey case as its justification, the council may have taken a similar step with other former ILF-users in the borough*.This week, following the warning from Scott-Moncrieff, the council appears to have backed down – at least temporarily – and has reinstated the 84 hours per week funding, pending the completion of Jane’s assessment.Cllr Kamaljit Kaur, Hounslow council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “Hounslow council carried out two legal assessments of resident [Jane] in June 2015 and November 2015.“[She] was assessed as not requiring the additional [ILF] payments… in order to meet her care needs.“The council is carrying out a third assessment and has agreed to re-instate [Jane’s] payments for September and October 2017 while this current assessment is carried out and until this is completed.“[Jane] was informed of the situation by the council’s legal team in a letter, which was sent to her lawyers.“The council is not aware of any other residents in the same or a similar situation.“The health and wellbeing of all our residents in the borough is our priority.“Despite difficult challenges that we continue to face because of severe cuts to the social care budget, we aim to ensure that our services meet the needs of those who need it most.”*Any former ILF-user in Hounslow who has been treated in a similar way to Jane can contact Svetlana Kotova at Inclusion London by emailing: Svetlana.Kotova@inclusionlondon.org.ukPictured: Disabled activist Paula Peters protesting against the decision to close the Independent Living Fund
SAINTS star Lee Gaskell has been nominated on the shortlist for this season’s Albert Goldthorpe Super League Rookie of the Year Medal.The solid silver medal, and a cash prize of £500, will be awarded by the Rugby League Express newspaper to the winner at this year’s Albert Goldthorpe Medal lunch, which will be held at Huddersfield Giants’ Galpharm Stadium on Wednesday 13 September.Each member of an expert panel was asked to nominate five players for the award, and each player nominated has been included on the shortlist.To qualify for the award, a player must have played ten or fewer Super League games in previous seasons.The Tigers are the only club to have two nominees, in centre Joe Arundel and hooker Daryl Clark, while Bradford Bulls’ Tom Burgess could follow in the footsteps of his oldest brother Luke, who won the award in 2008, its inaugural season.The nominees include four backs and four forwards. Wakefield’s Paul Johnson, at the age of 23, is the oldest nominee, while Clark, 18, is the youngest. The Catalans’ Elio Pelissier is the first player from the Dragons to have been nominated for this award.Arundel is the nominee with the longest current run of consecutive appearances, having made 30 successive appearances for Castleford, while Wigan’s Josh Charnley, with 16 Super League tries and five goals, is the highest scorer of the eight nominees, with 74 points.The nominees are: Joe Arundel (Castleford), Tom Burgess (Bradford), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Daryl Clark (Castleford), Lee Gaskell (St Helens), Paul Johnson (Wakefield), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Eloi Pelissier (Catalans).
1EAGU3 and State of Mind are pleased to announce a ground breaking partnership in the week of Round 25; the 2013 themed State of Mind round.The two organisations will work together on initiatives that will assist the promotion of mental fitness and wellbeing to rugby league players, coaches, mentors and league officials (both professional and amateur) and the wider community, in order to enable individuals to develop knowledge, personal resilience and self-awareness so that they are able to improve their ability to cope with stress, adversity and other life events.Ernie Benbow, Chief Executive of 1eagu3 and one of the co-founders of State of Mind said; “State of Mind in partnership with our players and within RL highlights the value of getting major sporting role models to air their emotional fears and worries in a way that ordinary people could not, and this has been achieved with great subtlety and sensitivity which many previous campaigns have not.“State of Mind created a brilliant concept. We have come together to ensure that its freshness and honesty will not be lost but will be enhanced. The teams of State of Mind and 1eagu3 have the ability to be the central hub that will protect its integrity and honesty of approach.“The current climate presents a unique opportunity for further ground breaking partnership working in RL, mental health and perhaps sport in general that we have never seen before. We want to develop a partnership that is as effective as possible delivering support to our members at times of personal stress, anxiety, pressure and adversity.“Rugby league professionals face the same pressures and strains as we all experience; what we seek to do with the help and support of State of Mind is to provide those vital support mechanisms.“This is another partnership which signals 1eagu3 as a forward thinking, 21st century players association capable of working with all for the support of not only its members but the game as a whole. If we save one more life through our collaboration then our efforts have been worthwhile.” Jon Wilkin, St Helens international star and Chairman of 1eagu3 added: “I worked with State of Mind in 2011 during the making of their DVD in assisting their attempts to improve levels of awareness.“Everyone at all Super League clubs embraced this ground breaking work helping deliver the message in a sympathetic way. I have always seen this as a player led issue and as Chairman of 1eagu3 on behalf of all our members I am delighted we will now work in unison with State of Mind in formal partnership working together to tackle issues of stigma and increase levels of awareness throughout our profession, our fan base and supporting communities. This is truly ground breaking.”State of Mind’s Phil Cooper said: “The State of Mind programme was established in 2011 with the aim of improving the mental fitness, wellbeing and working life of Rugby League players and communities and we want you to belong to the State of Mind Family.“Whoever you support, you can join the State of Mind Family and be part of this amazing, award-winning movement. We welcome this great opportunity to work in partnership directly with the professional players. Please show your support in the coming week, come and say hello to a volunteer at games, take a mental fitness card and wear our tee-shirt.”State of Mind will be present at all 2013 Round 25 fixtures with a variety of initiatives to spread the awareness message amongst all fans
KYLE Amor, Mose Masoe, Luke Walsh, Richard Beaumont and Matty Dawson… five new faces heading to Langtree Park in 2014.Saints have strengthened in the pack, halves and in the backs as they look to challenge on all fronts in Super League XIX.Kyle Amor joined from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on a four-year deal for a transfer fee of £50,000.He’s made 96 Super League appearances in his career as well as playing twice for Ireland and twice for Cumbria.He will add strength, size and dynamism to the front row as well as a tenacious tackle.Kyle joined Wakefield on a permanent basis at the end of 2011 after being involved at Leeds. He signed for the Rhinos in 2010 from Whitehaven.Mose Masoe is sure to be a fans’ favourite at Saints standing at six foot four and the best part of 18 stone.His performances in the World Cup saw defenders trailing at his wake and the opposition shuddering from his bone crunching hits.Mose joined Sydney Roosters’ junior system in 2008 before making his first grade debut in 2010 against the Gold Coast.The powerful Kiwi then joined Penrith Panthers and played four times for Samoa in the World Cup.Luke Walsh joined on a two-year contract, with an option for a further year.He made his first grade debut in 2007 for the Knights before joining Penrith at the start of the 2009 season.He scored the opening try on his Panthers’ debut and was also named the club’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2011.He is a good organiser and possesses a great kicking game tooBig forward Richard Beaumont joined Saints from Hull KR.A scholar with the Robins, he progressed through their system to make his Super League debut in back in 2011.He’s strong, powerful, tips the scales at 100kg and has a great deal of potential to go far in the game.And Matty Dawson is a young winger / centre who signed for Huddersfield Giants from Castleford ahead of the 2010 season before joining Saints in 2013.He’s already stated his pushing hard to secure as many first team appearances as possible.2014 will be massive at Saints and the squad looks capable of being very competitive indeed.This quintet has committed itself to the club… have you?There’s just FIVE days to take advantage of our Early Bird Season Ticket prices.Fans can save 10 per cent off matchday prices across Langtree Park with a Season Ticket – as well as a host of other benefits including priority availability for cup and play-off games.You can also save £15 on the 2014 home and away shirt if you buy them together.To find out more click here.If you want to use our interactive seat picker to find out what is available in the Totally Wicked North and Solarking South Stands click here and select Season Tickets.Fans can buy their season tickets at the link above, at the Ticket Office at Langtree Park or by calling 01744 455 052.Be part of it and be the heartbeat – #saintsheartbeat
Following an independent accreditation process, which monitors the performance and progression of junior development programmes, the club has been awarded the status for the fifth year in a row.An evaluation of ‘Outstanding’ represents a level of performance which exemplifies best practice and implies that these very high levels of performance are sustainable and will be maintained.It focuses on three key areas – quality of leadership and management, how well Academies meet the needs of players and the delivery of the player development system.The rating said:“St. Helens continue to be a leading Rugby League performance and talent development environment being rated as “outstanding in all areas” for the fifth year running.“The club has made significant investment in Academy-specific facilities, further demonstrating a long-term commitment towards club developed Super League players, which is also reflected by the number of such players in the Super League squad.“Implemented by an experienced management team, the club’s strategy is a dynamic approach towards a sustainable production of future ‘Saints’.”
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The students each got a one-on-one golf lesson from an experienced golfer at Compass Pointe Golf Club in Leland.One of the students, Emily Berrios-Munguia says she got a deeper meaning from the lesson than just birdies and bogeys.“It’s helping us have a basis of etiquette,” Berrios-Munguia said. “If we’re doing something with business and our business partner says, ‘Hey, we should go golfing with another company.’ It’s giving us how to socialize, how to talk, basically helping us for the foundation of how we run our lives.”Related Article: NCHSAA adjusts fall championship schedule after impact of FlorenceThe students in the Success Academy recently took a trip to North Carolina A&T in Greensboro to get a taste of what life will be like in college. A Saturday Success Academy student gets a golf lesson from a member of the 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina (Photo: Justin McKee/WWAY) LELAND, NC (WWAY) — Some local students got the opportunity to hit the links and get a golf lesson Saturday, all thanks to the 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina.It was part of the organization’s Saturday Success Academy, which guides the students toward academic and life goals.- Advertisement –
The indictment alleges that on June 8, 2016, Eminof made a false and fictitious written statement on an ATF background check form to Backwater Guns in Wilmington.Specifically, the defendant represented himself to have not been adjudicated mentally defective and not to have been committed to a mental institution, when in fact as the defendant knew, he had been.On July 21, 2016, Eminof attempted to purchase a firearm from Bullzeye Shooting, also in Wilmington, by again representing himself to have not been adjudicated mentally defective and not to have been committed to a mental institution.Related Article: 2 men injured in drive-by shooting in WilmingtonThe indictment further alleges that on March 4, Eminof, having been adjudicated a mental defective and having been committed to a mental institution, knowingly and unlawfully possessed firearms.If convicted of these charges, Eminof would face a maximum of ten years in prison and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Pugh is prosecuting the case for the government. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is accused of lying about his mental health during a background check to buy guns.A grand jury indicted Hasan Eminof, 20, on two counts of Making False Statements to a Federal Firearm Licensee and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Adjudicated Mentally Defective or Committed to a Mental Institution.- Advertisement –
File image of Japanese Macaque (Photo: Lincoln Park Zoo) SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — A man’s pet monkey created havoc in a Shallotte neighborhood before it was fatally shot Friday morning.According to the Shallotte Police Department, a pet owner who lives on Kimberly Ann Street and is permitted to own exotic animals. One of his animals, a Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey, managed to get free from its cage Friday morning.- Advertisement – Detective Sgt. John Holman said the monkey approached a female neighbor and jumped on her inflicting injuries. The woman received multiple scratches and bite marks, he said.An HVAC repairman working at the victim’s house retrieved his firearm. Police said the man was fully permitted to own the weapon.Holman said the monkey took off running through several yards and was chased by the HVAC repairman.Related Article: Shallotte man gets nearly 6 years in prison for dealing drugsThe monkey then reportedly started beating on the screen door of another woman’s house. Holman said the HVAC repairman instructed the woman inside the home to shut her wood door.The monkey then turned and ran toward the HVAC repairman and that’s when he fatally shot the monkey.Police said no charges will be filed.