“There is no official government data on the prevalence of disability hate crimes – statistics are collected on racially and religiously aggravated offences but not specifically on disability hate crimes. In addition, until April 2007, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did not collect disability hate crime prosecution data separately. However, anecdotally, disability hate crime seems to be widespread and there is a significant gap between reported crime against disabled people and their experiences.
Failure to recognise disability hate crime when it occurs is the biggest barrier to tackling it. A report published last August by Scope, UK Disabled People’s Council and Disability Now, entitled ‘Getting Away with Murder’ showed that the language used to describe crimes against disabled people was a key factor in this. Disabled crime victims were usually described as “vulnerable” or attacks detailed as “senseless” or “motiveless” – in many cases these terms were used as an explanation for crimes motivated by hostility towards disabled people.
Routine use of the word “vulnerable” often masks the real motivation for such crimes and undermines the gravity of the offence. This confusion between vulnerability and hostility means that disability hate crimes are not always identified, and so are not prosecuted and punished for what they are.”—Alison Maynard, ‘Criminal Attitude’
"Common Wheel is not an ordinary bike shop. It is a charity and cycling project for people with mental health problems in Glasgow. The organisation provides companionship, skills and constructive, meaningful activity for people with mental health problems. It takes donations of old bikes, strips, sorts and sells them."
Mencap is calling on the government to make the NHS safe for people with a learning disability, following the publication, this week (Wednesday 15 February), of a new report ‘Death by indifference: 74 deaths and counting’, which finds continued institutional discrimination in the NHS.
The new report looks at what progress has been made since the publication of Mencap’s original ‘Death by indifference’ report in 2007.
It confirms that, although some positive steps have been taken in the NHS, many health professionals are still failing to provide adequate care to people with a learning disability. The report highlights the deaths of 74 people with a learning disability in NHS care over the last ten years – highlighted in an article in The Guardian on 3 January – which Mencap believes are a direct result of institutional discrimination and could have been avoided.
The report uncovers common errors made by healthcare professionals. These include failure to abide by disability discrimination law, ignoring crucial advice from families and failing to meet even basic care needs. Mencap believes that this is underpinned by an assumption by some healthcare professionals that people with a learning disability are not worth treating.
The report also shows there has been no systematic monitoring by the Department of Health to ensure that the health needs of people with a learning disability are being met.
Mark Goldring, Mencap chief executive, said: “The report confirms that five years on from our landmark ‘Death by indifference’ report, many parts of the NHS still do not understand how to treat people with a learning disability. At Mencap, we continue to hear heartbreaking stories of unnecessary deaths and pain.
“Although some significant steps have been taken within the NHS, where progress has been made it has been patchy and inconsistent. If the government doesn’t get to grips with this serious issue, more people will die unnecessarily.”
To end discrimination in the NHS and ensure people with a learning disability receive the same quality of care as the rest of the population, Mencap is calling for a number of commitments. These include annual health checks to become a permanent part of the GP contract, all health professionals to act within the law and get training around the Equality Act and Mental Capacity Act, regulatory bodies to conduct rigorous investigations and deliver appropriate sanctions where health professionals have failed in their obligations to patients with a learning disability, and a standard hospital passport for all people with a learning disability.
Health trusts can sign up to Mencap’s Getting it right charter, aimed at stopping indifference and making rights a reality for patients with a learning disability.
I have also bought a copy of Mind Over Matter ‘zine and it’s safe to say it was £2 very well spent. Read a lot of it on the bus back home and it’s extremely informative and interesting. If you have a vague interest in mental health issues, want to know more or are just curious to hear some personal experiences of people battling with different mental health issues, pick up a copy.
you can’t relapse if you don’t start getting better in the first place so fuck y’all
A really interesting issue is the distinction between relapse and new, distinct symptoms. This is something that is being discussed a lot lately in research concerning antipsychotics. For example, researchers at UCL found that discontinuation of Clozapine and possibly other antipsychotics could produce a rapid onset psychotic episode that is actually distinct from the underlying illness, so much so that this may even occur in people with no previous psychiatric history. As odd as it sounds, they discovered that withdrawal from antipsychotics could send even healthy people quickly into a psychotic episode.
I’ll add a caveat here, though, before I receive any further aggression for discussing this: I am personally making no claims about the efficacy of medication. I’m just flagging up some contemporary research that I think can spark some interesting and important discussions. Ok cool.
“Though I clearly prefer shows of tolerance to shows of intolerance, I nonetheless still have certain reservations about the word “tolerance” and the discourse it organizes. It is a discourse with religious roots; it is most often used on the side of those with power, always as a kind of condescending concession… Tolerance remains a scrutinized hospitality, always under surveillance, parsimonious and protective of its sovereignty. In the best of cases, it’s what I would call a conditional hospitality, the one that is most commonly practiced by individuals, families, cities, or states. We offer hospitality only on the condition that the other follow our rules, our way of life, even our language, our culture, our political system, and so on.”—Jacques Derrida
Uh so… I work as a conference producer for the public sector, and I just spent my lunch break catching up on zine orders (stapling them together, writing address labels, packaging stuff up etc etc). One of my senior colleagues / kind of bosses came into the office and asked to read one. He was really impressed with it and said I should ask if I can put them in the delegate packages at a big mental health conference we’re putting on next month. This is kind of a huge deal, I think. The conference will be full of high powered UK mental health professionals, and I think it’s really important that they hear what people have to say. The question is, do I put out a call for submissions for a ‘Things I wish I could tell my doctor / therapist / psychiatrist’ issue?
Just floating this idea, chaps: who would be interested in submitting to an emergency issue? Please like / reply to this post so I can get an idea of uptake. Thanks!