One woman’s experience on a London bus shows the damage the Tories have done to disabled people | The Canary

A woman’s experience on a packed London bus serves as a case-in-point for the reality of life for a disabled person in the UK. And the story, in which a bus driver allegedly said “fucking disabled people shouldn’t be allowed on any bus”, is a testament to just how Conservative-led governments have pushed disabled people’s rights backwards.

A prominent campaigner

Paula Peters is a prominent campaigner and member of the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) Steer Group. She is well known for her activism and fighting for disabled people’s rights. But on 16 August, she was subject to what she calls “abuse” and discrimination on the R3 bus to Orpington in Bromley, Greater London. And she took to Facebook to tell the story.

Peters lives with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. She has to walk with a tri-rollator, on her doctor’s advice, due to the discomfort, pain, and balance issues caused by her conditions. But on the morning of 16 August, neither the bus driver for private operator Metrobus nor the passengers in question took any of this into account.

Source: One woman’s experience on a London bus shows the damage the Tories have done to disabled people | The Canary

Tennant and Colman support selfie mental health campaign | DisabledGo News and Blog

Broadchurch stars David Tennant and Olivia Colman have posted selfies of themselves to show their support for a BBC mental health initiative. Tom Hardy and Russell Brand have also pulled their fingers out – four to be precise – for the #1in4 campaign. Alison Kirkham, the BBC’s controller of factual commissioning, said one in four were affected by mental health issues. “I’m delighted so many high-profile people have come together to raise awareness of this important cause.” Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw and Frozen voice star Kristen Bell have also snapped their digits to show solidarity. “I wanted to get involved with the #1in4 campaign to help people realise they’re not alone,” said Grimshaw. “Having mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed about.” The initiative accompanies the BBC’s Minds Matter season, a range of programmes across TV and radio about mental health. They include Mind Over Marathon, a documentary featuring the Duke of Cambridge that will air later on BBC One.   To

Source: Tennant and Colman support selfie mental health campaign | DisabledGo News and Blog

Munich officials: Gunman was obsessed with mass killings but had no ties to ISIS – The Washington Post

Police and prosecutors say the 18-year-old who killed nine people had no known political motive and may have been mentally ill.

Source: Munich officials: Gunman was obsessed with mass killings but had no ties to ISIS – The Washington Post

We Spoke To Adults With Mental Health Issues About How Early Intervention  Could Have Changed Their Lives

Half of adult mental health issues begin in childhood, according to a report (picture posed by models) “My dad left when I was four and I remember thinking it was all my fault. At s

Source: We Spoke To Adults With Mental Health Issues About How Early Intervention Could Have Changed Their Lives

Ontario justice system ‘punishes’ mental illness

Original post from

‘……………..By: Feature Writer,

RICHARD LAUTENS / TORONTO STAR The story of Toronto musician Josh Priess, seen near College St. and Spadina Ave., illustrates many of the points in the John Howard Society report. Priess ended up in solitary after an encounter with pol
The story of Toronto musician Josh Priess, seen near College St. and Spadina Ave., illustrates many of the points in the John Howard Society report. Priess ended up in solitary after an encounter with police in 2013.

A troubled young man brandishing a pair of scissors is shot and killed by police. A suicidal woman is placed in solitary confinement “for her own protection.” A desperate boy finally gets the mental health care he needs, but only after he is charged with assault.

These are the devastating symptoms of a problem that a new report warns is escalating in Ontario: the criminalization of mental illness.

Ontario must stop punishing people for their mental health issues and take “bold and immediate action” to decriminalize mental illness, says the sweeping 40-page analysis by the John Howard Society of Ontario.

The report, obtained by the Star ahead of its Tuesday release, says the criminal justice system has had little success in responding to mental health concerns because it is simply the wrong place for the mentally ill.

It recommends a massive system overhaul, urging the province to quit relying on police and courts as primary responders and to take meaningful steps to improve the mental-health-care system and keep vulnerable people out of jails.

“When the health system fails to treat mental illness, the justice system punishes the symptoms,” said Jacqueline Tasca, a co-author of the report and policy analyst with the John Howard Society of Ontario, a non-profit that studies crime and justice-system reform and helps prisoners after release.

Ontario is three years into a 10-year mental health strategy that promises, in its next phase, to expand employment and diversion programs for people with mental illness, increase the number of supportive housing units and improve “transitions between police and hospital emergency departments,” among other initiatives. The John Howard Society recommendations are meant to help the province realize its goals, Tasca said.

A spokesman for the minister of health said he couldn’t comment on a report the ministry hadn’t seen, but emphasized in an emailed statement that the government continues to roll out its mental health and addictions strategy. “Our plan will improve accesses to services, reduce wait times, fill the gaps in our system,” he said.

RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR Josh Priess urgently needed professional help, but ended up living a five-day nightmare in jail that he says ruined his life. Find out more.
Josh Priess urgently needed professional help, but ended up living a five-day nightmare in jail that he says ruined his life. Find out more.

Sixty years ago, people with serious mental illness were warehoused in hospitals and asylums. The 1960s deinstitutionalization movement arose out of the belief that patients would be better served in the community, but it led to the mass closure of psychiatric beds without a corresponding investment in social supports such as housing and mental health treatment. The movement spurred a troubling and unintended consequence: an increase in encounters between the mentally ill and police.

Now jails have replaced asylums as repositories for people who don’t have adequate resources to cope with community living, the report argues.

Recognizing this trend, the Ontario criminal justice community has developed specialized services — crisis services, mental health courts, more access to case management. But this well-intentioned response, the report says, has led to another unintended outcome: the criminal justice system has become one of the few access points for mental health treatment.

No one escapes the impact of this escalating problem. It is devastating to people with mental illness, “who are forced to navigate a system that was never intended to be therapeutic,” the report stresses. And society pays the price with clogged courts, overcrowded and dysfunctional jails, and preventable encounters that sometimes escalate tragically.

“It’s getting close to crisis proportions,” said lawyer Paul Champ, who represented an Ottawa-area woman in a landmark 2013 human rights settlement against Ontario, after she was held in solitary confinement for 210 days.

“The problems are fairly clear for all to see, but I think that a better response from the government could be found if they actually study the problem in more detail,” he said. “Because there’s no doubt about it — it’s far more expensive to put people in jail then to provide them with proper medical treatment.”

A common scenario is this: a desperate family tries unsuccessfully to get help for a son with a serious mental illness. Suicide threats are met with brief and ineffective hospitalizations. Finally, in a crisis, the family calls police, seeing the justice system as the only pathway to psychiatric treatment.

Criminal charges beget a whole new set of problems. In Ontario jails, people with mental illness have difficulty accessing medication and appropriate psychiatric care. They are frequently placed in solitary confinement because they are seen as too challenging to manage in the general population. This practice is widespread in Ontario and across Canada, even though there is a growing global consensus that isolating the mentally ill amounts to torture and should be banned.

Released from jail, people with mental illness face numerous barriers to successful reintegration and recovery, including shortages in clinical care and residential treatment options, and bail conditions that include absolute prohibitions on drugs and alcohol, which are often unrealistic for people with addictions to comply with. People with a police record often face additional stigma because it limits their job options and makes them ineligible for certain community supports.

These barriers, the report says, create a vicious cycle of re-involvement with the justice system that people can not easily escape.

RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR Priess's story illustrates the problems described in the John Howard report. "I still wake up in jail; it could be dark in my apartment, but I still see the mauve pink walls, and the scratches made by prisoners before me," he
Priess’s story illustrates the problems described in the John Howard report. “I still wake up in jail; it could be dark in my apartment, but I still see the mauve pink walls, and the scratches made by prisoners before me,” he told the Star.

By the numbers

60% of Ontario prisoners today are on remand, which means they have not been tried and are presumed innocent — only 26% were on remand 30 years ago.

20% of Ontario prisoners today are being held on non-violent administration of justice charges, such as failing to comply with bail or breach of probation.

A 2013 study of accused people on bail in Ontario who were being supervised by community agencies found that:

  • 70% had issues with substances (alcohol or drugs).
  • 40% reported that they had current mental health issues.
  • 31% had concurring mental health and substance use issues.
 Criminal justice recommendations
  • Immediately cease the practice of isolating prisoners with serious or acute mental illness in solitary confinement.
  • Regulate the employer demand for police record checks and broaden the Ontario Human Rights Code to protect people against discrimination on the basis of non-conviction records.
  • Reduce the large remand population and overcrowding in Ontario’s provincial jails by fixing problems with the bail system in Ontario,
  • Whenever possible, divert people with mental health issues out of the justice system and only use jail as a last resort.
  • Consider decriminalizing drug use in line with CAMH’s cannabis policy recommendations.
  • Screen all inmates using a standardized and validated mental health assessment tool.
  • Screen for homelessness risk upon entry and anticipated risk of homelessness upon release.
  • Ensure inmates have high-quality, around-the-clock access to medical and psychiatric care in prisons.
  • Implement meaningful discharge planning for remanded prisoners.
  • Strike a balance between responding appropriately and humanely to the mentally ill while being cautious not to further entrench the justice system as an entry point.

Health and social recommendations

  • Create a proactive and accessible mental health care system in all communities.
  • Increase access to psychiatric professionals and clinical care.
  • Adopt a broad and inclusive definition of mental health that includes addiction.
  • Create system navigators who can help people access appropriate treatment and community support.
  • Keep the minimum wage above the poverty line and improve the accessibility, structure and allowance rates.
  • Implement an eviction prevention strategy for people on remand to prevent loss of housing for those jailed for short-term periods.
  • Expand access to supportive housing and crisis beds for people with mental illness.

Source: Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario, a report by the John Howard Society of Ontario  …….’



Protesters to march on jobcentre over mental health therapy links

Original post from Disabled Go News




Disabled activists are to hold a protest about a new government scheme that will see mental health therapists installed in a south London jobcentre.

Members of the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) are also furious that a new “Living Well Hub”, providing access to Lambeth’s community mental health services, is set to open on a separate floor of the building where the jobcentre is based.

The network, and supporters – including members of Psychologists Against Austerity and theAlliance for Counselling and Psychotherapywill march on Streatham jobcentre in south London on Friday (26 June) to highlight what they see as government attempts to “re-educate” people with mental health distress.

The protest comes after the journal Medical Humanities – co-owned by the British Medical Journal – published an article criticising the view that being unemployed was “evidence of both personal failure and psychological deficit”.

The article suggests that countries implementing major welfare reforms – such as the UK – are increasingly attempting to force “complete and intimate behaviour change” on unemployed benefit claimants through “coercive and punitive” methods.

One government intervention is a project – announced in March’s budget – that will “co-locate” therapists from the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in more than 350 jobcentres, providing “integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions”.

The first jobcentre to host these IAPT therapists is in Crown House, Station Approach, Streatham, the same building as the new Lambeth Living Well Hub (LLWH).

LLWH, which is set to open on 29 June, is run by a collaborative which includes healthcare providers, local authorities, charities and service-users.

Its aim is to “keep people well and out of hospital”, and act as “a new ‘front door’ to mental health services in the borough”.

MHRN has sent an open letter to individuals and organisations, asking them to back their opposition to the location of LLWH in Crown House and the co-location of therapists in jobcentres.

The letter says: “Mental health service users are already reporting higher levels of fear, anxiety and anguish as a result of the increasingly difficult welfare benefits system, which is linked to an increasing rate of suicides.

“This situation will be exacerbated by the new developments.”

The letter says that psychological therapies are “ineffective” if they are forced on people, and need to take place in “safe, unthreatening environments”.

It adds: “We are concerned that people will be sanctioned (ie have their benefits stopped) if they do not co-operate with this ‘therapy’ either out of principle or because they are not well enough.”

Robert Dellar, an MHRN spokesman, said: “People with mental health issues are absolutely terrified of jobcentres, of work capability assessments, sanctions, and having their dole stopped and threatened.

“People are just going to be too scared to access services if the Hub is based in the same building as the jobcentre.”

David*, who has received services through the collaborative, said: “The jobcentre is a very traumatising place.

“The way DWP have been treating people with mental health problems and assessing them and [carrying out] work-focussed interviews is very oppressive and very forceful, and now they are opening these health services in [the same building as] a jobcentre.

“That is causing people a tremendous amount of distress. These services are meant to support you when you are in distress. The two do not meet. I personally would never go there [to the Hub].”

A spokeswoman for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, speaking on behalf of the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative, claimed that they were “not aware of or involved in any pilot at the jobcentre involving mental health or talking therapies”.

She added: “Streatham Jobcentre Plus hosts many organisations within the building.

“The decision of the collaborative to locate the Hub on the third floor of Crown House was one based on the need for adequate space for the service and cost.

“There are no plans for formal links between the Living Well Hub on the third floor and the jobcentre on the ground floor of Crown House.”

Despite her claims, a document on the collaborative’s website states: “The job centre building was chosen as the location for the Hub as there was free available office space and there was an opportunity to train job centre staff to help them work better with people with mental health issues.”

The spokeswoman refused to say whether the trust was comfortable with the government’s pilot project, or with the Hub being located in the same building as the jobcentre.

*Not his real name

News provided by John Pring at


Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

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Mental health remains a focus

Original post* from Department of Health*


*The promotion of better mental health, particularly for children and young people, continues to be a priority for the government – and for our new Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt.

The Minister demonstrated his commitment to children and young people’s mental health with a recent visit to the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). Here he witnessed first-hand how effective person-centred mental health care is being delivered to young people in south east London – and beyond.

Alistair Burt: “I’ve been impressed, not just by the excellent personalised services here, but also the emphasis on community based support for young people and their families."
Alistair Burt: “I’ve been impressed, not just by the excellent personalised services here, but also the emphasis on community based support for young people and their families.”

SLaM provides the widest range of NHS mental health services inthe UK. It offers comprehensive care for children and young people presenting with mental health problems. Body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive compulsive behaviour, panic and eating disorders are just some of the conditions treated.

As well as providing local services for children and adolescents who live in Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, SLaM also provides specialist services to young people from across the country.

Specialist staff and multi-disciplinary teams work together to help patients and families work towards recovery together. Crucially, SLaM staff work with children and their families and always seek their views on treatment.

The Minister met with SLaM’s Chief Executive, Doctor Matthew Patrick, and Roger Paffard, SLaM’s Chairman, to discuss the Trust’s vision and achievements.

Jo Fletcher, Service Director for the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinical Academic Group and Doctor Mimi Simic, joint head of the Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Service gave an informative presentation about the services offered to young people and their families – and introduced the Minister to young people using SLaM’s services.

He also met parents taking part in the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities programme which trains local parents to run parenting groups in schools and children’s centres. These groups serve as support networks for families experiencing mental health issues, providing parents with helpful tools to support their children and look after their own health and wellbeing.

Introducing CUES-Ed: a schools programme created by SLaM clinical psychologists and CBT therapists to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of primary school children.
Introducing CUES-Ed: a schools programme created by SLaM clinical psychologists and CBT therapists to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of primary school children.

The minister was also intrigued by CUES-Ed, a schools programme created by SLaM clinical psychologists and CBT therapists to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of primary school children. The programme provides an innovative approach to engaging children and encouraging them to discuss mental health and wellbeing in a fun and non-stigmatised environment.

Reflecting on the visit, Alistair Burt said: “I’ve been impressed, not just by the excellent personalised services here, but also the emphasis on community based support for young people and their families. Add to that the great work of the Empowering Parents and CUES-Ed programmes and you have a positive template for mental health education within schools and the communities around them. Any initiative which seeks to raise awareness, reduce stigma and promote early intervention for those who need it must be encouraged.”

You can find out more about the work of SLaM here and a storify of the visit – including reactions and images – here.  ……..’


Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.


Anxiety in young people with learning disabilities: prevalence and assessment

Original post from The Learning Disabilities Elf


Upset6Intellectual disabilities (ID) or ‘learning disabilities’ affect approximately 1.5 million people in the UK. Nearly a quarter of these individuals are under the age of 18. Individuals with ID have been known to have higher levels of emotional issues and close to 40% of children and adolescents with ID in the UK may have other mental health issues, including anxiety.Mental health disorders such as anxiety are common amongst the UK population with an estimated 1 in 6 people experiencing a neurotic disorder such as anxiety or depression each year.

Anxiety disorders are also estimated to affect 3.3% of children and young adults in the UK. It is unclear, however, how common anxiety disorders are amongst children and adolescents with ID.

Examining mental health disorders in those with ID has proved challenging as mental health symptoms may be attributed to the ID – known as ‘diagnostic overshadowing’.

This has resulted in a gap in our understanding of the mental health issues faced by those with ID, particularly in young people. A recent study conducted by researchers from Monash University, Australia aimed to address this gap by examining the prevalence and assessment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with ID.

Nearly half a million children and adolescents have a learning disability in the UK. A significant proportion will have an anxiety disorder


A systematic review of relevant literature was undertaken in April, 2014. A systematic review is used to appraise and summarise the results and implications of a breadth of research in a specific area and this approach to examining the prevalence and measurement of anxiety in children and adolescents with ID seemed well fitting given that there is little research on the area.

Two electronic databases (OVID Medline, PsycInfo) and leading disability journals (e.g. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research) were searched using a range of key terms to find articles relating to i) prevalence and ii) measurement/assessment of anxiety disorders in those with ID.

Studies on prevalence were restricted to those in English that were based on DSM/ICD diagnostics, had a minimum of 50 participants, ≥70% of which had ID.

Studies that considered anxiety measurement in those with ID were included if they were in English, presented reliability and validity statistics and ensured ≥70% of sample participants had ID.


Seven studies were found and the prevalence of anxiety disorders in these studies showed rates of anxiety disorders ranged from 3% to 22%. The highest rates of separation anxiety disorder were found in studies with five year olds. The highest rate of social anxiety disorder was found in 9 year olds (10.8%).

Generalised anxiety disorder prevalence was lower than the former two disorders, and ranged from 0% to 5.4% in two studies that examined this.

Specific phobias were considered in three studies. One study showed that 17.5% of study participants had a specific phobia, but in the other two studies prevalence was only 2%.

Twenty-one studies that examined the psychometric measurement of anxiety disorders were found that met inclusion criteria. Across these 21 studies, there were 13 instruments used for anxiety used in children and/or adolescents that met this study’s inclusion criteria.

Some of these could be completing through self-reporting or through someone else (usually a parent) providing responses to questions in the instrument. One was to be completed with clinicians. Instruments included, for example, the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), containing a section that measures anxiety/depression and the Baby and Infant Screen for Children with aUtism Traits (BISCUIT – Part 2) which has a subscale for anxiety and repetitive behaviour.

Some of the instruments cited were modified for use with typically developing children/adolescents (e.g. Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale; RCMAS).

Children and adolescents with LD are more likely to have anxiety disorders than typically developing children; but currently there are few useful instruments available to measure anxiety in this population

Three instruments were developed specifically for children and adolescents with ID: Reiss Scales for Children’s Dual Diagnosis (RSCDD), the Nisonger Child Behaviour Rating Form (NCBRF) and the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC). These scales provide a broad assessment of behaviour and emotional problems in children/adolescents with ID with a subscale to measure anxiety included. The NCBRF and DBC showed the best reliability and validity.

Some reviews found by the authors, but not included in the systematic review, examined the psychometric properties of anxiety measures used in samples of children/adolescents with autism specifically, demonstrating that research into autistic populations was further ahead than ID populations.


The authors concluded that:

Several existing measures hold potential as reliable and valid measures of anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents with intellectual disability … However, further evaluation studies in the target population are required to firmly establish the psychometric properties of these measures of anxiety. In addition, the capacity of the measures to screen for anxiety disorders in young people with ID remains to be established.

Whilst these conclusions seemed reasonable given the data retrieved from the systematic review, different conclusions may have been reached if the authors considered a wider range of literature. The need for further research into examining anxiety disorders in children and adolescents is a fair point as research in this area is lagging behind, for example, equivalent research into autism.

Strengths and limitations

The strengths of the study were that it was that it was the first research of its kind examining prevalence and measurement of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with ID. The researchers also scrutinised the papers extract figures on prevalence, reliability and validity thoroughly and presented relevant statistics.

There were, however, a number of weaknesses. For example, the researchers only used two main electronic databases and several individual journal searches. This limited the breadth of literature they could have found on the topic. Additionally, whilst the authors only considered studies where the majority of participants were ≤17, this was not justified.

There have been calls for the classification of adolescents to be raised to 25, (Wallis, 2015) therefore, the rationale for what constitutes adolescents was needed.

Finally, studies’ participants differed in terms of degree of ID, therefore, conclusions drawn about prevalence of anxiety disorders in children/adolescents with ID is not wholly accurate.


The prevalence of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with ID is higher than that in the typically developing population of children and adolescents. Given that there are higher rates of anxiety and other mental health problems (e.g. depression) in this population, it is important to think deeply about how best to support these individuals.

They are more likely to face emotional setbacks and may require more emotional support or therapeutic interventions where appropriate.

Whilst the development of assessments of anxiety in children and adolescents with ID is still clearly in its infancy, there is some promise in a few instruments (e.g. RSCDD; NCBRF; DBC) to measure the level of anxiety in these individuals.

Whilst these instruments have not yet demonstrated their ability to successfully screen children and adolescents with ID for anxiety symptoms, future work in the area should lend itself towards the ability to do so.

Young people with autism have been researched more than those with ID, whilst ID may be more common, and more research into those with ID is needed to develop our understanding of how we can support children and adolescents with ID to the best of our ability.

More research is needed in this area to ensure instruments are available to screen for and measure anxiety in children and adolescents with learning disabilities


Anxiety disorders in children and adolescents with intellectual disability: Prevalence and assessment, Reardon T, Gray K, Melvin G, in Research in Developmental Disabilities, 36, 175–190 [Abstract]

Emerson, E. and Hatton, C. (2007). Mental Health of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities in Britain. British Journal of Psychiatry, 191, 493-499.

Foundation for People with Learning Difficulties. Learning disability statistics. [accessed 18/02/2015]

Mental health foundation. Mental health statistics: anxiety. [accessed 19/02/2015];

Totsika, V. Hastings, R.P., Emerson, E., Lancaster, G.A. & Berridge, D.M.. A population-based investigation of behavioural and emotional problems and maternal mental health: associations with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52 (1), 91-99.

Wallis, L. Is 25 the new cut-off point for adulthood? [accessed on 18/02/2015],………’